Umno will be torn apart if party polls not delayed, says senior leader

(FMT) – An Umno leader has warned of a free-for-all in the party’s next elections if they are not postponed.

“The reality is that there are camps in Umno although we’ve always put up a united front,” said the senior leader, who declined to be named.

“If we have polls now, it will be open season and it will lead to criticism of the leaders, including the prime minister. This is something we want to avoid.”

Umno is awaiting a decision from the Registrar of Societies (RoS) on its application to amend its constitution so that it can delay party polls.

RoS was supposed to have informed Umno of its decision on July 16 but the party has yet to receive an answer.

The source said he believed the application would be approved by the end of this week.

He alleged that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is an Umno vice-president, was in a position to ensure the approval.

If the amendment is approved, Umno will be allowed to defer its elections by up to six months after a general election or up to 18 months from the end of its leadership term, whichever comes later.

If it is rejected, the polls will have to be held before GE15.

The source said Ismail would be taking a heavy risk if he did not use his influence to ensure the approval of the application.

“He risks losing everything,” he said, adding that Umno leaders would rarely take such risks.

He also said Umno leaders in the government stood to lose the most should party polls be held before the general election because a loss in the party polls could mean they would not get to contest on an Umno ticket in GE15.

Recently, Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir said Umno grassroots were supportive of its leaders who were not in government and who were pushing for an early GE15.