Umno delegates unanimously agree to defer party polls

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno can look forward to contesting in the general election as a united front after a proposal to amend the constitution to defer party polls was passed.

The amendment, passed with a unanimous vote from the 2,586 delegates attending the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTCKL) yesterday, “is proof that the party leadership is without camps but instead stands as one”, said delegates.

They pointed to the proposed amendment, which was tabled by vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and seconded by Prime Minister and fellow Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Khaled said now that the constitution had been amended, Umno could focus on winning the general election.

“This election is important... we want to ensure a handsome win for Umno and Barisan Nasional, so everyone must be on board and work towards achieving this goal,” he said.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the unanimous approval for the constitutional amendment was a display of solidarity by Umno members.

“We saw how the amendment was proposed by vice-president Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, and it was seconded by another vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“This in itself dispels claims that there are two camps in our party.

“What is important now is that we can face GE15 as a solid team and offer stability to the people,” said Asyraf.

Former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said there should be no issues for the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to give the green light following the party’s decision to amend its constitution and postpone party polls.

“There should be no problems as we have already studied the process and followed the relevant rules and laws.

“The amendment was passed unanimously by the party delegates, so there should be no reason for the ROS to reject something that received universal approval from party members,” he added.

Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Noh Omar said the unity in Umno could be seen when the amendments were passed unanimously.

“It was really exciting to see that Khaled as the proposer and Ismail Sabri seconded it.

“It also shows that the party unity is at a good level,” he said.

Explaining the amendments, Khaled said the provision in the constitution stating that the election of office bearers was to be done every three years remained.

“The amendment is in the exception clause.

“Previously, the party polls could be postponed by up to 18 months.

“Now, the period has been extended up to 18 months or within six months after a general election, whichever is later,” he said.

With the amendment, elections involving the supreme council, divisions, branches, Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings as well as the election of branch chiefs, deputies and its 15 committee members can be postponed until six months after a general election.

Umno had postponed its party elections for 18 months after the 2018/2021 term ended on June 30 last year, which meant that party elections for the 2021/2023 term must be held before Dec 30 this year.

However, the Umno general assembly in March agreed to postpone party polls up to six months after GE15 to allow the party to focus on it.

In his opening speech, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the proposal to amend the Umno constitution to allow party elections to be held after national polls was for the sake of party stability and not for his personal benefit.

The Umno president denied claims that it was to protect his position in the party, calling it a “narrow-minded” mindset.

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