Najib has no standing to sign GE14 candidates’ appointment letters, says lawyer

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

KUCHING, April 20: United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak cannot sign the letters of appointment for UMNO and BN candidates in the 14th general election (GE14) following questions over UMNO’s legality, reported Malaysiakini today.

The online portal quoted lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who is representing 16 UMNO members who filed a judicial review application today challenging the decision of the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to extend the period from holding the UMNO leadership elections until April next year.

Mohd Haniff told reporters the party supreme council and divisions ceased to exist effective today, while the UMNO branches ceased to exist effective March 1.

“Hence Najib cannot sign the watikah (credentials) of the candidates due to the questionable position of Umno,” he said, adding that Najib was no longer UMNO president and hence his position as BN chairperson was also disputed as a result of this.

Mohd Haniff also said the 16 Umno members are seeking a certiorari to quash the ROS decision dated March 5 which allowed party polls to be extended until April next year, and also a mandamus order to compel ROS to investigate the matter and an order for Umno’s dissolution.

Mohd Haniff said he had raised the issue on Feb 28 questioning the possibility of Umno branches being illegal.

Seri Merpati Pandan Indah UMNO branch leader Salihudin Ahmad Khalid, who is one of the plaintiffs in the judicial review application was reported as saying he had written to ROS inquiring about the status of the party and has not received any reply.

“I have been a branch leader since 2013 and I question whether my position is legal today due to the absence of branch elections, which were supposed to be held by Feb 28 this year,” Salihudin said.

Salihudin said that it had been more than five years since the last UMNO elections when they should be held every three years.

Meanwhile, in response to the filing in the KL High Court today, UMNO supreme council member Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said UMNO’s fate is now in the hands of the court.

“If it has been brought to court, let the court make a decision. This is our country’s legal process.

“It is up to the courts. If we are not satisfied we can appeal in court,” Nazri told Malaysiakini when contacted.

He declined to say if Umno would be disbanded just as it was in 1988, following a court challenge on the results of the 1987 party elections.

On March 1, Pakatan Harapan secretariat Saifuddin Abdullah said the ROS and UMNO should clarify whether all UMNO branches have been automatically de-registered as of March 1 as they have not held their elections following the 18-month extension for them to do so which expired the day before.

“Umno cannot extend elections for its branches beyond 18 months. The extension lapsed yesterday for the branches. Hence, the ROS cannot grant another extension,” Saifuddin, who is a former UMNO supreme council member, told Malaysiakini at the time. — DayakDaily