Monday, June 21, 2021

Umno to delay party polls as it enters GE fray as opposition

This is the second time in three years that the party will defer its polls.

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Umno’s leadership will propose a deferment of its party polls due this June, where its president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is expected to be challenged for the top post, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

It is understood that the move is to allow Umno to prepare for the 15th general election.

The party’s top leadership recently decided not to work with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Bersatu at the next polls, saying it would stick with the ruling bloc until the dissolution of Parliament.

The decision means that Umno will for the first time in party history enter the polls without being part of the caretaker government, a privilege it had enjoyed at every general election leading to claims of it using government machinery for campaigns.

While a general election is not due until 2023, Muhyiddin has repeatedly said that early polls will be called once the current state of emergency expires in August, subject to the Covid-19 situation.

An Umno source told MalaysiaNow that top leaders had discussed postponing party polls at their meeting in Janda Baik, Pahang, last month.

A decision can only be made at the Umno general assembly, scheduled for the end of this month.

The Umno Supreme Council has the power to postpone party polls for up to 18 months.

The last time Umno postponed party polls was in 2018 before the general election that year which saw it lose federal power.

Polls were then held on June 30, 2018, which saw Zahid defeating Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the president’s post.

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