UMNO should be encouraged to become an effective and constructive Opposition and there should no notion of deregistering UMNO or declaring it illegal
UMNO has clearly acted against the Societies Act 1966 requirements.
Under the UMNO constitution, Umno is required to hold supreme council elections once every three years, but it has the power to give an 18-month extension under special circumstances, like preparing for the 14th general election.
The last Umno triennial elections were held on Oct 20, 2013, which means that Umno supreme council elections should have been held by Oct 19, 2016, to comply with the three-year requirement, or by April 19, 2018, if an 18-month extension was decided upon by the UMNO supreme council.
On June 26, 2015, Najib announced that the UMNO supreme council had decided to put off the party election due in October 2016 by 18 months.
He said: “According to Clause 10.16 of the Umno constitution, the supreme council has the right to postpone elections for its supreme council, divisions and branches. This postponement cannot exceed 18 months from the date the elections were supposed to be held.”
That is, by April 19, 2018.
There was, however, no Umno elections held by that date, and this fatal violation of the party constitution cannot be cured, overcome or rescued in any manner by the Registrar of Societies.
I have studied Section 3A of the Societies Act 1966, which had been quoted by the Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor as vesting powers on the ROS to give a further year-long extension for Umno supreme council election after April 19, 2019.
Section 3A states: “In addition to the powers, duties and functions conferred on the registrar by this Act and any regulations made thereunder, the registrar shall have and may exercise all such powers, discharge all such duties and perform all such functions as may be necessary for the purpose of giving effect to and carrying out the provisions of this Act.”
Anyone who understand English or Bahasa Malaysia will know that the simple and very plain language in Section 3A of the Societies Act does not give the ROS any powers to extend a further year-long extension for UMNO supreme council to be held after 19th April 2018.
The UMNO elections for all the top UMNO national and divisional posts are therefore liable to be declared null, void and invalid.
Although UMNO has blatantly violated the law and its own Party Constitution, UMNO should be encouraged to become an effective and constructive Opposition and there should no notion of deregistering UMNO or being declared illegal by the Registrar of Societies.
It is the responsibility of everyone in Malaysia to promote the healthy growth of democracy which means institutionalising a system of checks and balances not only within the governing parties, but also to encourage the growth of a strong, effective and constructive Opposition, a free and responsible press as well as a vibrant and active civil society.
Whether UMNO and the other political parties presently or formerly in the Barisan Nasional can play an effective and constructive Opposition role is up to these political parties, but the government-of-the-day should not repress or oppress them, as DAP had been at the receiving end for five decades.