Lawyer: BN fields candidates, not Umno

Umno’s candidates contest on a BN ticket signed by Najib Razak, says their lawyer.

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional is a separate legal entity from Umno and thus BN chairman Najib Razak has the power to sign authority letters for candidates to contest in the general election, says Umno’s legal adviser, Mohd Hafarizam Harun.

Any problem about the legitimacy of BN candidates contesting would only arise if the Election Commission objected, he said. “Unless the SPR rejects. So it is up to them,” he said, using the Malay abbreviation for the EC.

Questions have been raised about the legal standing of Umno candidates in the general election on May 9 because of a suit by dissident Umno members questioning the party’s current legal standing.

The 16 dissident members seek to have the party deregistered because of delayed party elections at branch, division and Supreme Council levels. An 18-month extension to the deadline ended last week.

Hafarizam pointed out that Barisan Nasional was registered with the Registrar of Societies as a coalition of 13 member parties.

“So even if Umno is declared unlawful, there is not the slightest iota of any bearing on BN,” he told reporters after attending court proceedings here today.

Hafarizam said Najib, who is Umno president as well as BN chairman, could thus sign authority letters for candidates to submit their nomination papers.

“BN is a separate entity from Umno. Candidates from BN are the ones contesting in the elections and not Umno,” he added.

He urged party members not to be mislead by claims that Pakatan Harapan candidates would win the 222 parliamentary seats unopposed on nomination day this Saturday.

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