Suspension of party polls for 18 months halted plans to depose leader.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is set to maintain his position until the end of next year after the party’s Supreme Council decided to postpone party elections until after December 2022.
This throws a spanner in the works for those who want to dethrone Zahid, who is at odds with the Perikatan Nasional government.
Umno leaders Nazri Abdul Aziz, Shahidan Kassim, and Khairy Jamaluddin have been pushing for elections to proceed this year as initially scheduled.
The current party leadership’s three-year term was supposed to end tomorrow (June 30) but the Umno constitution allows polls to be postponed for a year and a half.
Party secretary-general Ahmad Maslan announced the 18-month postponement in a statement today (June 29).
“This decision is in line with Article 10.16 of the Umno constitution, which states that the Supreme Council has the right to postpone elections at the Supreme Council, division, and branch levels.
“This postponement should not be for more than 18 months from when the polls are meant to be held,” he said.
Ahmad added that he informed the Registrar of Societies (ROS), Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, and the National Security Council (NSC) about the postponement.
“The gist of the Health Ministry and NSC’s reply to us was they suggested that meetings and the Umno election be held virtually.
“But they also mentioned in their letters that if these can’t be held virtually, the election needs to be postponed to when the Covid-19 is more under control,” he said.
Umno elections are an elaborate affair.
The upcoming poll was expected to involve some 3.3 million members in 66,287 branch-level elections.
A further 764 delegate meetings were supposed to be held at the division-level.
Aside from the main party, divisions include the women, youth, and young women wings.
“All these must be done simultaneously within two weekends.
“It would have definitely been hard for delegate meetings for all four division wings to be held at once when there are areas under the movement control order (MCO), conditional MCO, and enhanced MCO,” Ahmad elaborated.