Appellate Court dismisses ex-Umno members’ bid for Umno dissolution over delayed party poll

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla (centre) speaks to reporters at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya November 5, 2018. ― Picture by Kenneth Tee
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla (centre) speaks to reporters at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya November 5, 2018. ― Picture by Kenneth Tee

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 5 ― The Court of Appeal today dismissed an application for a judicial review by 16 former Umno members seeking the party's dissolution for breaching its own constitution by delaying party polls beyond the prescribed time.

Appellate judge Datuk Badariah Sahamid, who chaired a three-judge bench consisting of Datuk Kamardin Hashim and Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof, announced the decision after a half-an-hour deliberation after finding no reasons to depart from the High Court's decision.

“Section 18C of the Societies Act explicitly said that party matters are final and conclusive cannot be reviewed by the courts,” she said while delivering the court's unanimous decision.

Representing the ex-Umno members, lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said this did not mean whether Umno did was right or not by holding party polls after the extension period as the court merely decided it could not hear such cases.

Haniff said his client would make an application for leave at the Federal Court to appeal the decision within 30 days.

“This is a Federal Constitution issue and therefore we will let the Federal Court decide whether our appeal has merit or not,” he said.

The former Umno members said the party should hold elections every three years and the leadership could only delay them for an 18-month period.

They were later sacked by Umno for taking the party to court.

On April 27, the High Court dismissed the 16 ex-Umno members' application for leave to initiate a judicial review to seek the party's dissolution for not having its election within the prescribed time, thus violating its constitution.

High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Md Said made the decision after finding that the decision of a political party relating to its affairs shall be final and could not be questioned in any court on any ground as provided under Section 18C of the Societies Act.

Umno held its party elections late last month. Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was elected as president while Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan was chosen as deputy president.

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