New EC chief says has no political ties, not Umno member

Election Commission chairman, Datuk Seri Hashim Abdullah speaks to Malay Mail Online during an interview at his office in Putrajaya, February 23, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 28 — Newly-appointed Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Seri Hashim Abdullah, 62, believes he can carry out his duties impartially as he has never been a member of any political party despite previously serving government leaders from Umno.

Hashim acknowledged that he was once private secretary to Tan Sri Annuar Musa when the latter was rural development minister, but insisted that this never compromised the former’s professionalism.

“If you check my official records I was never an Umno member, and till this today I am not involved in any political party,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

In 2012, Hashim’s predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof came under heavy criticism from opposition leaders after it was revealed that he and his deputy were Umno members.

Abdul Aziz reportedly said then that he was an inactive member and had not attended any party meeting and that his past affiliation with Umno did not affect his ability to carry out his professional duties.

Hashim said that his time as Annuar’s aide had allowed him to become acquainted with politicians from both the ruling Barisan Nasional and the opposition, naming individuals such as Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek as his contemporaries.

“I am comfortable with people like Azmin, and I believe that can help me in carrying out my duties in a neutral manner,” Hashim added.

Hashim, originally from Kota Baru, Kelantan, was formerly secretary-general of the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry.

Before taking over as EC chairman, he was the commission’s deputy chief, having been appointed to the position in October 2014.

Hashim started out his career as the deputy director of the KL city hall in 1980 and has since held numerous positions including the post of private secretary to the Minister of Youth and Sports as well as the Minister of Rural Development. – Malay Mail Online

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