PM defends Saifuddin over exemption for Umno on no-contest motion

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has defended home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail’s decision to grant Umno an exemption over the no-contest motion for the top two posts in the upcoming party polls.

(FMT) – “He (Saifuddin) has already explained the matter,” he told reporters after an event at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa here.

“The law requires the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to refer (the matter) to the minister and the law provides him certain powers.”

Anwar said he too, in the past, had overridden decisions made by civil servants.

On Tuesday, Saifuddin confirmed Umno was granted an exemption pursuant to Section 70 of the Societies Act 1966 on the resolution made at the party’s general assembly to bar contests for the president and deputy president’s posts.

Under Section 70, the minister is empowered to use his discretion to exempt any registered society from all or any of the provisions of the Act.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan and former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin have criticised Saifuddin’s decision to grant the party an exemption.

Khairy, who was sacked by Umno in January, accused Saifuddin of using executive powers to absolve an unlawful act.