What Umno’s constitutional amendments mean for the party

Extending the terms of office for its leaders will bring the party both pros and cons.

(MalaysiaNow) – The Umno special general assembly last week unanimously agreed to amend the party constitution in three areas: Clause 10.16, Clause 15.3 and Clause 18.2.

The clause in the limelight was 10.16, which allowed the Supreme Council the power to postpone party elections at the council, division and branch levels for 18 months from the date that an election should be held.

Post-amendment, the Supreme Council is empowered to further postpone party elections until up to six months after the general election is held, depending on which is later.

Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled had said that under the original clause, the Malay party would have to hold its elections no later than December 2022 – 18 months from the date the elections should have been held in June 2021.

“However, if the general election is held in July 2023, for example, the party elections date can be postponed until January 2024 at the latest,” he said when tabling the motion for amendment at the special assembly.

If the party elections are held in January 2024, the incumbents would have held their office for 66 months from the date of the last Umno polls in June 2018.

Nevertheless, the amendment remains subject to the approval of the Registrar of Societies.

Political analyst Kartini Aboo Talib said the amendments were meant to maintain the status quo for Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his allies.

“In this case, many are still watching the fate of Zahid, who has been charged with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power, as well as Najib Razak who has been found guilty by the courts,” Kartini of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) said.

Ahmad Atory Hussain of Universiti Sains Malaysia meanwhile said the amendments had reduced the space, freedom, time and options for the election of Umno leaders.

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