Original deregistered party not really dead, just ‘fainted’, says veteran MP
KUALA LUMPUR : Veteran lawmaker Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is on a mission to bring back the original Umno party, which was deregistered in 1988.
In a press conference in Parliament today, the Gua Musang MP said he found the high court declaration of the party an unlawful society to be invalid and unfounded, after hearing the advice and opinions of several experts.
Tengku Razaleigh said he will deliberate further on the issue in the coming days on the way forward, including whether to challenge the court decision, and will make an announcement via the media.
“Oh yes, oh yes (there is a motion to revive Umno), because the body is not guilty, based on our research. So why kill it?” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh said any legal action taken to bring back the old Umno will be done with like-minded individuals, and mooted the setting up of a pro-tem committee.
“This (old) Umno is not dead, I’ll describe it as having just fainted, inactive. But I have been advised that the Umno that was declared unlawful is not actually unlawful.
“The Registrar of Societies has no right or power to deregister the party, because it had not committed any offence,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh said his bid to revive the old Umno was of his own accord, without having discussed the matter with Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Supreme Council, or with any other party members.
“I’m alone, I’m always alone. If I were to speak with anyone else, there may be attempts or advice for me to stop. There are many people with personal interests. I am just doing this for the sake of righting what is wrong, to revive Umno.”
Umno, which was formed in May 1946, was declared unlawful by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in February 1988 due to the existence of several unregistered branches.
The issue first surfaced during the party polls in 1987, when Tengku Razaleigh lost the party presidency to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad by a very slim majority, while most of his faction members also lost their respective posts.
Questions immediately surfaced if the election was fixed, with allegations that several delegates who voted were drawn from among unregistered Umno branches, leading to several members of Tengku Razaleigh’s faction to challenge the matter in court.
Following Umno’s deregistration, Mahathir registered Umno Baru, before dropping “Baru”. The party eventually became the de facto successor of the original Umno, with assets being handed over to the new entity.
Commenting on the court’s decision, Tengku Razaleigh said the ruling made to invalidate Umno was done outside legal jurisdiction, and that the deregistration was not done according to the Societies Act 1966.
He added that if it is proven that the original Umno is still legal and lawful, this will pose an issue to the Umno of today, but this must be addressed by those in the party.
Tengku Razaleigh said there were no attempts to revive Umno back then due to fear of repercussions, noting how judges had been removed from their jobs and several government officials also had action taken against them.
New Umno now abused by members to enrich themselves
Earlier, when debating the royal address in Parliament, Tengku Razaleigh quoted National Professors’ Council chairman Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, who touched on Umno’s inability to correct its mistakes and remain relevant to Malays.
But he said the Umno that Shamsul commented on is not the party that was formed in 1946.
“This Umno has evolved, and this includes the change of the party’s vision for the Malay race,” he said.
This new Umno, he said, became home to a novel political class that misused the party to enrich themselves, treating Umno as if it was a commercial business.
“This destruction was felt in the economy with the privatisation of national assets.
“Political power was held by support to garner party positions, implemented with a biased system and monetary rewards.
“We must destroy this enemy that resides under our blankets,” Tengku Razaleigh added.
The Umno veteran added these historical events resulted in Malaysians losing trust in the Dewan Rakyat as the nation faces a political and health crisis.
For the party to return to a position where it can play a national role, Tengku Razaleigh said, the injustices of the past must be corrected.
“This can be done by restoring the (original) Umno and its constitution, which requires the court and RoS’ decision to be declared null and void.
“This (Umno’s deregistration) should not be allowed to happen again as it will become the norm that political parties will pursue with the intention to enrich those who control our administrative system,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh declared himself an “agent of necessity” for Umno and its representatives in the lower parliamentary House.