PETALING JAYA: Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan (pix) has pledged he will stay on to fight the good fight and has no plans to resign in light of the political upheaval that saw the resignation of Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.
“I am not resigning and as of now I do not have plans to resign,” he said.
“I cannot abandon my secretariat and my staff have been 100% behind me since day one and with talk of a possible general election, I can’t abandon them,” he told theSun.
When asked if there would be challenges working with the new government, Azhar, or Art Harun as he is also known, said EC has always been impartial.
“I don’t see any challenge, we are independent and we are not biased towards anybody.
“All political parties are not alien to me and I am not alien to them, I believe. They know where I stand and I will continue to do what I am tasked to do,” he said.
Regarding the impact of the political chaos, which resulted in the appointment of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the eighth prime minister, on future election turnout, the EC chairman said it is uncertain.
“We can’t say for sure because every election has its own dynamics. It has its own issues and political landscape at that time and all these dynamics change constantly.
“It depends on when the election is called but you can’t say for sure what could affect the turnout of future elections,” Azhar said.
When asked if anti-party hopping laws should be introduced, he revealed that even before this episode, the Electoral Reform Committee has been looking into such a measure.
However, he pointed out there were two High Court decisions which already held that any anti-party hopping mechanism is unconstitutional.
“The Federal Constitution guarantees the freedom to associate. That is the biggest hurdle that we have.
“Therefore if there is going to be any anti-party hopping law, the constitution must be amended.
“It is an ongoing study and analysis,” he said.