Friday, July 30, 2021

Umno to consult RoS, NSC on party polls during pandemic

The party's Supreme Council however stops short of announcing a date for its polls.

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The Umno Supreme Council today said the party would write to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) and National Security Council to enquire about guidelines for holding its elections in line with Covid-19 SOPs, although it stopped short of announcing a date for the polls.

“This is to ensure that the election process which could involve Umno branches including from the women’s, youth and Puteri wing, totalling 66,287 meetings across 191 sections from across the country and nearly 3.3 million members can be held smoothly and effectively in light of the rising number of Covid-19 cases,” it said in a statement signed by Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan.

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently said it would be up to the Supreme Council to decide whether to hold elections this year or to postpone it for up to 18 months.

According to Umno’s constitution, he said, party polls must be held every three years once the term for the party leadership ends.

The term for the current Umno leadership will end on June 30.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in February assured that party elections would be held this year although no date was fixed.

Zahid and former leader Najib Razak have been at the forefront of attacks against the government despite Umno leaders occupying key ministerial posts.

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

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

Zahid later took “garden leave” after being slapped with multiple corruption charges, although he returned to the top post after six months.

The Supreme Council previously proposed that the party delay elections in order to focus on the impending general election.

However leaders including Annuar Musa, Khairy and Reezal Merican Naina Merican questioned the move, amid criticism from within the party of Zahid’s leadership.

Khairy had said that Umno could only contest the next general election under a leadership that has a clear mandate and which enjoys the people’s support.

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