KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 ― The Umno supreme council’s move to postpone its internal party elections was invalid as its term already expired when the decision was made, the Registrar of Societies (RoS) said today.

In a brief statement, the RoS referred to the minutes of the Umno supreme council meeting dated July 7, highlighting that its officers’ three-year term expired on June 30.

“Based on the minutes of the Umno MKT meeting on July 7, 2021 to postpone the Umno MKT, division and branch elections for 18 months, RoS is of the view that that decision is not valid,” RoS said, referring to the Umno supreme council by its Malay initials MKT.

“This decision is because the term of the office bearers of the MKT for the term 2018/2021 had ended on June 30, 2021,” RoS added.

Separately, the Free Malaysia Today portal reported that the RoS has also directed Umno to hold its internal election and to inform the agency of the chosen dates as soon as possible.

Earlier in the same statement, the RoS stated its responsibility of ensuring that all activities and the administration of registered societies are carried out in line with their respective party constitution and which does not contravene the Societies Act 1966 or the country’s laws.

On June 30, 2018, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had won the Umno president post in a three-way fight. His term was to run until June 30, 2021.

A postponement of the party elections would mean that Ahmad Zahid could continue to hold his current party post until the internal polls are held.

In late June 2021, various Umno leaders including its deputy president, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, were reported saying that the party would be postponing its party elections for 18 months.

Local daily Sinar Harian had also on June 27 reported Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as saying all but two of the party’s supreme council members had in the previous week signed on a “circular resolution” online to agree to postpone the party elections.

On June 29, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan had in a statement said Umno’s supreme council had agreed for the party elections at all branches, divisions and supreme council to be postponed for 18 months starting from June 30, 2021.

He had said the postponement decision was in line with Umno’s party constitution’s Article 10.16 where the supreme council has the right to make such postponement for division, branch, supreme council elections for a maximum 18 months from the date from which it was supposed to be held.

In a Facebook post in the early hours of July 8, Ahmad Zahid had posted his statement dated July 7, in which he had said that Umno’s supreme council meeting had on July 7 met online and made various decisions, including to legitimise the decision to postpone party elections for 18 months in line with the party constitution’s Article 10.16.

This evening, Umno secretary-general Ahmad posted on Twitter the chronology of events regarding Umno’s party elections, including the party’s supreme council’s agreement as early as February 19, 2021 to postpone the party polls that was initially due on June 30 this year.

Among other things, Ahmad’s chronology stated that there was, on June 18, a decision made by 52 out of 56 Umno supreme council members through a circular resolution to agree to postpone party elections, as virtual party elections have never been and could not be held.

The chronology stated that a face-to-face meeting of the Umno supreme council members could not be held due to the enhanced movement control order, and that the circular resolution was done to obtain a decision.

Ahmad’s chronology also stated that there was a letter from him as Umno secretary-general to the RoS director-general on June 24 to provide notification of the Umno supreme council’s decision.

Ahmad’s chronology said the Umno supreme council had on July 7 legitimised the June 18 decision by supreme council members to postpone party polls, and that the RoS director-general had in a letter on July 19 said there was no objection to Umno’s postponement of its party elections.

Ahmad’s chronology also showed that he had on July 30 wrote to the RoS director-general about the supreme council’s July 7 meeting minutes which legitimised the June 18 decision to postpone party elections.

He also stated the RoS director-general had in a letter today stated that the Umno supreme council’s decision to postpone party elections was invalid.

Following today’s letter, Ahmad said he will on August 9 write a reply letter to the RoS director-general, stating that Umno’s lawyers had said there was no error by the political party.