KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Umno will not be able to carry out any alternative strategy it has if it fails to get the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) approval for amendments to its constitution, a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia law lecturer said.
Associate professor Salawati Mat Basir told Utusan Malaysia that Umno will be deemed as illegal if the RoS rejects the party’s constitutional amendment application, which include an amendment to defer its internal election to up to six months after the general election.
She added that all the party’s actions will be deemed invalid in that case.
“Actually, what should be done is to follow RoS’ rules to become halal again,” she was quoted as saying.
She was responding to Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan’s reported remarks yesterday that the party has alternative strategies if the RoS rejected its application.
The clock is ticking for the Malay nationalist party as it was already allowed to defer its internal election last year for 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The party is required under the law to hold its election by December 29 this year.
Umno’s delegates unanimously passed several resolutions to amend its constitutional amendments, including allowing internal elections after general elections, at the party's extraordinary general meeting held on May 15.
The RoS has 60-days until July 16 to announce its decision on the Umno application.
Another law expert weighing in on the party’s options told the Malay newspaper that there is still some legal leeway for Umno if the RoS does not approve its application.
“If the application is rejected, Umno will have to hold party polls before December 2022 but they can still file a judicial review to challenge the decision of RoS.
“But RoS must have a valid reason for rejecting Umno’s amendments because it had approved the constitutional amendments made by MCA and Gerakan before this, so there are precedents that have applied to other parties,” lawyer Datuk Adnan Seman was quoted as saying.
The judicial review route had been floated by two Umno supreme council members yesterday should RoS reject the party’s application.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan previously said the party was seeking to defer its internal election to prevent infighting and focus on winning the 15th general election, which must be called by September next year.