An upcoming Umno Supreme Council meeting could see the party leadership urging those facing charges in court to take leave from their positions, a move that could affect their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several others facing multiple corruption charges, Utusan Malaysia reports.
The news outlet quoted lawyer Adnan Seman as saying that the move was reminiscent of a decision taken by the party on May 29, 2009, two months after Najib Razak took over as president.
The Supreme Council had then stated that any party leader or member who was on trial would be automatically suspended from all positions in the party.
“The Supreme Council’s decision in 2009 stated that leaders who are facing charges can be suspended until their cases are dismissed,” Adnan told Utusan Malaysia.
He added that the decision has yet to be enforced.
In 2009, the Umno Supreme Council dismissed Labuan division chief Suhaili Abdul Rahman from his position following a charge of making a false statement.
Adnan told Utusan Malaysia that Suhaili’s dismissal was made in accordance with Article 10.10 of the Umno constitution.
Zahid is currently facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.
Zahid who was elected to the post in 2018, had taken “garden leave” following pressure from the party, only to return to the top post after six months.
Meanwhile, Najib has been convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine for seven charges linked to RM42 million of SRC International funds, with dozens of other corruption charges linked to the 1MDB scandal pending.
Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan is also on trial for allegedly failing to declare RM2 million that he received from Najib.
Putrajaya Umno chief Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor meanwhile face a 12-year jail sentence and RM2 million fine for a charge of accepting a RM2 million bribe from a businessman.