EC Chief still Umno man, Saifuddin insists
UPDATED @ 05:57:24 PM 10-05-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — Election commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof still remains an Umno member unless he has resigned from the party or was sacked, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said today.
Saifuddin dismissed claims made by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, who told reporters yesterday that Abdul Aziz's Umno membership has lapsed as he has not paid the annual fee, despite having paid the registration fee 30 years ago.
"The annual membership fee is merely to allow members to take up positions within Umno," he told reporters at a press conference here.
"Even if Aziz does not pay his annual fee, this will have no effect on his status as an Umno member."
He said this based on his own experience as a former secretary-general of Umno Youth.
He also said Nazri's statement yesterday reaffirmed PKR's claims that Abdul Aziz is an Umno member, and that PKR will still call for a tribunal to investigate violations of Article 114 in the Federal Constitution.
"The constitution states that once Election Commission members are appointed by the king, they must declare their membership in any political party within three months.
"Clearly this was not done by neither Abdul Azir nor (EC deputy chairman) Wan Ahmad," he said.
Saifuddin also said he would not apologise to EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar for allegedly confusing him with another Umno member of the same name.
"In the list of Umno members I have here, there are ten members with the name Wan Ahmad Wan Omar," he said.
"I am still waiting for the other nine to come forward and claim their identities."
Both the EC chief and deputy chief were accused last month of being Umno members, with Saifuddin alleging that he had evidence of their membership in the ruling party.
The duo have come under intense scrutiny in the past year over claims of fraud in election practices and the electoral roll as federal polls draw near.
Saifuddin had challenged the duo to prove they were not members of the senior party in the ruling coalition, failing which he would reveal the branches to which he alleged they belong.
He also told the Malay-language national daily that Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who quit the Kota Marudu Umno seat when he was appointed Dewan Rakyat Speaker in 2008, had informed him that the EC’s top two officers were still party members.
The EC was heavily criticised in the lead-up to Bersih’s rally for free and fair elections on July 9 last year in which tens of thousands flooded the streets of the capital in chaotic scenes that saw over 1,500 arrested, scores injured and the death of an ex-soldier.
Widespread condemnation of the Najib administration’s clampdown saw Putrajaya make major concessions including announcing a bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee to look into improving the electoral system.
During the committee’s six-month tenure, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) accused the EC of not being committed to reforms and eventually rejected the panel’s findings, which then led to the Bersih 3.0 rally.
The coalition of 84 civil societies said last month that the findings of the select committee were disappointing and did not meet its demands for electoral reform.