Ismail Sabri: Motion may have violated party constitution

KUALA LUMPUR: The motion of no-contest for the top two posts in the upcoming party polls may have violated Umno’s constitution, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The party vice-president explained that there were two schools of thought on the interpretation of the motion to not contest the posts of president and deputy president that was passed during the Umno general assembly yesterday.

He said that although the motion was passed at the general assembly, it could go against the party constitution.

Ismail Sabri also questioned whether the assembly had the power to pass such a resolution.

The party constitution, he said, specifically states that the selection of office bearers shall be done via an election.

The word is “shall”, which means it is a must, he told a press conference at the conclusion of the general assembly.

“If it is the word ‘may’, then you may have an option,” he added.

Article 8(1) of the party’s constitution states that the general assembly is the party’s highest authority, and the party’s direction would be determined based on its powers and orders, subject to the constitution and other rules.

He said the matter should be referred to the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

But when pressed if he would lodge a report with the ROS, he replied: “No.”

The nod to pass the motion for the posts of president and deputy president not to be contested at the coming party polls was passed at around 4.55pm.

This means Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is popularly known as Tok Mat, will remain as Umno president and deputy president, respectively, for another term.

Asked if the motion could cause disunity in the party, Ismail Sabri said there had been disunity even before the general election.

“We postponed the party polls previously because of the general election, but now the general election is over.

“If you want to avoid disunity, why don’t you stop contests at all levels? There is inconsistency here.

“If you want to strengthen the party, we cannot just look inwards; we must also be able to attract people outside of the party,” he said.

He also questioned whether this was part of the new deal that Umno would be giving to the public after the general election.

“We talk about change, but is this the new deal that Umno will be offering to the public?” he asked.

Ismail Sabri also noted that the decision to disallow contests for the top two posts would reduce the confidence of the youth in Umno.

He expressed concern that the motion would further distance the youth from Umno as it showed that the party was not open and democratic.

“The youth outside have high idealism, they talk about democratic rights and they want a party that is open and free.

“I am worried that they will lose trust in Umno’s openness and move further away from the party,” he said.

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