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COMMENT | Did PM strike a deal with top Umno leaders?

COMMENT | The recent decision by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to allow Umno’s controversial decision to postpone party elections even further is a highly questionable one but has to be expected, coming as it did from a branch of the government which is now controlled by Umno.

That means that party elections not only do not have to be held by Dec 30 but can be postponed up to six months after the next general election. 

Consequently, a bruising Umno party election need not be held before the general election which means the existing leadership can remain until then, providing a lifeline of sorts to current Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

This further stretches the time the Umno leadership is intact. If Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob decides to go full term, GE15 can be delayed to two months past the five years after the first sitting of Parliament following GE14, or September next year.

Add another six months to this, and the current Umno leaders can be in power until March 2024. They were elected on June 30, 2018, which means they could be in power for five years and nine months or two years and nine months beyond their elected three-year term.

On that basis alone, the ROS had a very strong case to reject the constitutional amendments to allow further postponement of the elections which is clearly an abuse of process by the current leadership to stay in power without the sanction of the members.

But ROS did not do that and probably acceded to the demands of the government of the day. This implies that Ismail Sabri, who is in charge of government, must have struck some kind of deal with his top Umno colleagues or he may have decided that it was politically the most expedient thing to...

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