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Ismail Sabri says no-contest rule may be against Umno constitution

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has disagreed with the motion for the party’s top two posts to go unchallenged, saying the move could contravene the party constitution.

The former prime minister said there were two “schools of thought” when interpreting the motion approved during the last day of the 2022 Umno general assembly today.

He said that although the Umno general assembly was the party’s highest decision-making body, the motions it adopted still could not go against what was in the Umno constitution.

“Based on another clause in the party constitution, party elections must be convened every three years or postponement must be conducted through grassroots or divisions level.

“In other words, ‘shall’ also means ‘must’. If it says ‘may’, then you have an option,” he told a press conference today at the conclusion of the Umno general assembly.

“So, although the assembly has decided, because the constitution states that elections must be held at the divisional level for all positions, then the assembly cannot make a decision that is ultra vires,” he told reporters after the Umno president’s closing speech during the party annual general assembly.

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

Article 9 (3) holds that the top leadership position must be put up for contest every three years unless such voting has to be postponed.

Ismail Sabri said that the matter could be referred to the Registrar of Societies (RoS).

When asked if he would report the matter to the agency, however, Ismail said, “No”.

Ismail Sabri added that the decision not to allow challenges for the top two posts would reduce the trust of young people towards the Umno party.

“I am worried about the young people, of course what we (Umno) are doing is against their idealism.

“I want the party to be open, the right to compete but not to compete. The fear is that it will further reduce the trust of young people in Umno which I think will block interest. We say we want to attract young people but our actions keep young people away,” he said.

Earlier today, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that party members should respect the delegates’ decision to not have the top posts to be contested.

Umno delegates today voted through the motion for the party’s presidency and deputy presidency to be uncontested during the internal election that must be held before May 19.

Yesterday, Negeri Sembilan delegeate Mohd Shukri Samsudin submitted an additional motion calling for party leaders not to contest the posts of president and deputy president at its upcoming party election.

Earlier today, Khairy took to TikTok to claim that stealthy manoeuvres have been put in place to prevent Umno president Ahmad Zahid and his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan from facing competitors over their positions.

In the four-minute video, Khairy said that he suspected the voting session on the additional motion for the top leadership posts to remain status quo will be passed.

He also asserted that name tags had been removed from delegate’s seats in the hall where the voting will take place, ostensibly to facilitate the entry of import delegates into the hall and vote in support of the motion.

It was denied by Umno information chief Isham Jalil and other party leaders.