Why target Umno alone on party polls deferment, Umno asks ROS

UMNO information chief Shahril Hamdan scoffed at the Registrar of Societies (ROS) for singling out the party over its decision to defer party polls to a later time.

“Other political parties also postponed their polls but with no issues. Another party wanted to hold a ‘hybrid’ congress but was disallowed due to COVID-19 fears. That was between March and June.

“Now, it’s August and we are reporting 20,000 COVID-19 cases daily and ROS wants us to hold party polls, involving over 20,000 branches across the country. Where is the logic here?” he asked in a Facebook post.

As Umno announced that it was withdrawing support from the Perikatan Nasional Government, ROS yesterday ruled that Umno’s decision to postpone its party polls by up to 18 months was invalid, adding it has to set a new date for the election.

In a letter to Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, ROS director general Jasri Kasim deduced that the postponement was not valid as the term for its supreme council members elected in 2018 had ended on June 30.

In June, Umno decided to postpone its party polls due to the restrictions imposed during the movement control order (MCO). In a letter dated July 19, ROS had replied that it had no issues with it.

On that note, Shahril reminded the Government of its response in June when MPs called for them to hold the general election using the ‘hybrid’ mode due to pandemic concerns.

“Our Law Minister said that he was studying whether we can hold the general election using electronic votes. Later, they said it was too challenging.

“If the Government, with its vast resources, can say it was difficult to do despite a year of study, do you expect a political party to implement an electronic polling system within months?” he queried.

With that, Shahril said that none of the reasonings given by the authorities made sense, from health or even security point of view.

“Anyway, the party secretary general will be responding to the ROS and our lawyers have told us that we had followed due process in postponing the party polls,” he remarked.


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