KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Umno’s push for snap polls are from grassroots members and not those on trial for criminal offences, the party’s information chief Shahril Hamdan said today.
He was responding to allegations that the country’s biggest political party has been pressuring the prime minister to hold the 15th general election sooner rather than wait for the current mandate to expire next year so that its top leaders who are in the dock can contest.
Malaysian laws do not disqualify anyone accused of an offence from running for public office, only those who have exhausted all legal options and remain convicted and sentenced to more than a year’s jail or fined more than RM2,000, and have not received a pardon.
“Currently, the prime minister is from Umno. According to Umno's supreme council's decision, if the BN wins, the prime minister is still the same. The case is ongoing. So, what do the court cases have to do with an early election?
“In addition, there is no guarantee BN will win the general election,” Shahril said in a statement on Facebook.
The Umno politician chided PAS national election director Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor who recently suggested that Umno’s insistence on having GE15 soonest possible was because its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is standing trial for multiple corruption charges, is fearful of going to prison.
Shahril said Sanusi’s remarks not only affected Zahid’s integrity but also that of the country’s judges and judicial system.
“As the president of Umno and the chairman of Barisan Nasional (BN), he obviously wants his party to win and wants the rakyat to benefit from a more stable political scene without the worry of an election coming out of nowhere.
“But whatever it is, the party's top five will discuss this further. Other parties don't need to get involved in Umno's business,” he added.