Malaysia's Umno drops plans to sack members found guilty of crimes

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian opposition party Umno has dropped several proposed amendments to its Constitution that could cause a split in the party.

Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam on Wednesday (June 26) expressed gratitude to the party Constitution amendment committee for accepting his objection against amending certain clauses in the Constitution to purge members found guilty of corruption and criminal offences.

"Alhamdulillah (Thank God), my objection was accepted without having to forward it to the supreme council for further debate," he said.

He said the proposed amendments included automatically revoking the membership of those who had been proven guilty of corruption and criminal offences.

He said another proposed amendment to refer those implicated in corruption cases to the party disciplinary committee was also scrapped.

"We do not want amendments that could lead to a major split in the party," he said.

There had been reports last month that Umno was planning to amend its Constitution in a bid to oust leaders who are facing court charges.

The move to make the changes had raised speculation that the party now led by Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan wanted to oust president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is on leave from his position, and to block tainted former president Najib Razak from again taking up a top post.

Both Zahid and Najib are facing multiple court charges, including over abuse of power, money laundering and corruption.

The party's vice-president Khaled Nordin later denied the reports, calling them an outright lie while Mr Mohamad said the move was not aimed at pushing anyone out.