'Umno should amend constitution'


KUALA LUMPUR - Umno should amend its constitution if it cannot fulfil the requirement to hold party elections every three years, suggests a leader.

Cheras Umno chief Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee said it would be better if the constitution clearly stated that party elections should be held after every general election.

"It appears that it has become a trend to postpone party polls to prepare for general election.

"If that is the case, it is best to call for an emergency general meeting and amend the constitution and hold party polls after every general election," he said in response to the supreme council's decision on Friday to postpone the 2016 party polls by 18 months in anticipation of the 14th General Election.

According to Umno constitution, party polls must be held every three years. However, it can also be postponed for up to 18 months. The last party elections were held in October 2013.

Syed Ali said the majority of the division chiefs and state secretaries supported the proposal to postpone party polls during a workshop in Janda Baik.

"They are worried the party would be fractured if polls are held prior to a general election because of internal power struggle.

"If that is the case, then we should amend the constitution so that it will always be held after general elections," he said.

Meanwhile, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor dismissed suggestions that the decision was related to the controversy surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

He said the postponement was to allow the party to tackle several political issues before it faced the 14th General Election.

"We want to resolve several political issues happening in the country and prepare for the next general election. It has no bearing on 1MDB," he said after a shopping trip with orphans and poor children yesterday.

Tengku Adnan said this after he was asked if the delay was prompted by the arrest of a former director of PetroSaudi International in Thailand.

Former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said such postponement was normal in Umno and had been done previously.

He said, during his time, he had also postponed an Umno election due to several reasons.

"I have also postponed an Umno election because of internal turmoil, problems and splits," he said in Alor Setar.

Johor Umno chief Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin urged all 26 divisions in the state to make full use of the postponement to strengthen the party.

"By having party polls later, leaders and members can concentrate on drumming up support for the party," he said.

To ensure a bigger victory, he said party members should unite and avoid infighting.

Khaled reminded leaders that having a party position was not a guarantee that they would be fielded in the next general election.