Rais tells supreme council to seek court declaration on Umno’s ‘legality’
Alyaa Azhar . Rais Yatim has urged the Umno supreme council to seek a court declaration on whether it has violated its constitution by delaying its polls.
The Umno veteran said this when asked whether he would seek a court declaration on the matter.
“It’s not my job to do it but I think the one qualified to do so would be the supreme council.
“Umno top leaders cannot keep quiet, they must get accurate legal guidance. If they do not do this, they would be seen as not taking the issue of the party’s constitution seriously,” he told Malaysiakini.
Rais said it was clear how Umno must hold its elections by today, April 19.
Umno had held its last party elections on October 19, 2013.
According to Clause 9.3 of the party’s constitution, the supreme council is required to hold its polls every three years, with a further extension of 18 months allowed under Clause 10.16.
Najib, in June 2015, announced that party’s elections would be postponed, as Umno had to prepare for the general election.
‘Second extension not possible’
Rais, meanwhile, said that an extension of 18 months was indeed allowed, but argued that second extension was not possible.
“The Registrar of Societies does not have the power to keep Umno registered without holding elections as stipulated under clause 10.
“This is important because the general election is coming, so it is better for Umno to seek a court declaration, because if others do it, the issue of locus standi will be raised.
“Umno can only go about their daily business once it gets a court declaration. If not, many members will question the legality of Umno.”
Rais insisted that it should be the supreme council itself that should be seeking a court declaration.
“It doesn’t look nice if normal members do it.
“Supreme council members should obtain legal guidance so that the registrar is given the powers to allow further delay in holding the party polls.
“But looking at the clause, I don’t think this is possible as the registrar can only give an extension once,” he said.
Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said in February that the party polls would be held on April 19, 2019, after obtaining approval from the ROS.
On Tuesday, former minister Rafidah Aziz took to Facebook to share a friend’s legal point of view, which said that Umno cannot contest in the upcoming general election as it would be considered illegal after April 19.
She also said that the ROS had no power to allow another extension, and that Tengku Adnan had relied on the wrong set of laws to justify the postponement.
Nevertheless, Tengku Adnan insisted yesterday that Umno was not an illegal party, and assured its members that it will be able to contest in the 14th general election.