Malaysia court dismisses application to declare Umno illegal by 16 former members

Members of the United Malays National Organization listen to a speech by Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak during its general assembly in Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 7, 2017.
Members of the United Malays National Organization listen to a speech by Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak during its general assembly in Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - The Kuala Lumpur High Court has dismissed an application by 16 now-former Umno members who wanted the party to be dissolved for not conducting internal elections for almost five years, the Malaysian media reported on Friday (April 27).

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Kamaludin Md Said made the order after allowing preliminary objections by the Attorney-General's Chambers last Friday.

Met after the decision, the 16 applicants' counsel Mohammed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said they would file an appeal.

In issuing his decision, the judge said he had considered the questions raised by the plaintiffs, but felt that he was bound by Section 18C of the Societies Act, Malay Mail Online (MMO) news reported.

"A political party's decision on the party's affairs 'shall be final and conclusive' and shall not be challenged, reviewed, questioned or quashed in any court," he said, as quoted by MMO.

In their lawsuit, the 16 applicants from 11 Umno branches in six states, named the Registrar of Socieities (ROS) and Umno's working secretary Abdul Rauf Yusoh, who is being sued in his capacity as Umno's public officer, as respondents.

The 16 were promptly sacked by Umno when it learnt of their court move.

On March 5, the ROS allowed Umno to postpone its party elections for April next year, the second time it was given an extension.

The 16 men claim that this extension did not comply with Umno's own constitution.

Salihudin Ahmad Khalid, one of the 16 former Umno members, said the two postponements exceeded the maximum 18 months allowed for postponements of party elections, as stipulated by the Umno constitution, MMO said.

They were seeking a declaration that Umno is illegal and is effectively dissolved as of April 20, 2018.