KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed Thursday, April 26, to hear a leave application for judicial review by 16 Umno members who are questioning their party’s legality.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the matter would be heard before justice Kamaludin Md Said at 9am.
“However, we are surprised that the hearing has been fast-tracked as my clients did not file a certificate of urgency,” he told reporters.
On Friday, the 16 claimed the extension given by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for Umno to hold its elections next year was against their party constitution.
“Under our constitution, party elections can only be extended up to 18 months,” they said, adding that the last elections were held in October 2013.
The next polls should have been held in October 2016, as Umno must hold its elections for branches, divisions and the Supreme Council once every three years.
However, the Supreme Council decided to defer the elections for another 18 months.
The 16 claimed the decision to delay the polls until April next year denied them their right to elect their leaders.
Led by Umno Seri Merpati Pandan Indah branch leader Salihudin Ahmad Khalid, they are seeking a court order compelling the RoS to investigate Umno for allegedly breaching its own constitution.
They are also seeking another order to suspend the party’s operations pending the court case.
In addition, they are seeking an order to dissolve Umno as they claim the party is now illegal.
The RoS and Umno executive secretary Ab Rauf Yusoh have been named as respondents in the judicial review application.
In 1987, 11 Umno members went to court following an acrimonious fight within the party. The High Court ruled then that Umno was an illegal body due to election irregularities in a branch. The party was subsequently reformed as Umno Baru.
In the last Umno election, its president Najib Razak and then deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin won the top positions uncontested.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Shafie Apdal and Hishammuddin Hussein won the three posts of vice-president.
However, in 2016, Muhyiddin was sacked from Umno while Shafie quit the party. They are now opposition leaders and will be contesting in Johor and Sabah, respectively, in the coming election.