16 Umno Dissidents Challenge Their Sacking

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The 16 expelled file contempt of court action.

The 16 recently sacked Umno members, who sought the intervention of the courts for the dissolution of the party, are filing a contempt proceeding to challenge their firing.

“We filed the judicial review and took the Registrar of Societies (RoS) and Umno to court because the Supreme Council had breached Article 10.16 of the party’s constitution in delaying party elections until next year,” their lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said.

The 16 members had filed a legal action against Umno on Friday for withholding party elections for five years. They were subsequently expelled from the party on Saturday.

Haniff said Umno’s decision to sack them could be perceived as interfering with the court proceedings.

“Furthermore, this act of Umno is tantamount to interference with the course of justice, whilst having knowledge of that action, and that the 16 are seeking a stay of all Umno activities and affairs, yet Umno has decided to ‘sack’ them. A clear and blatant act of contempt,” he said in a statement.

He stated that the expulsion was arbitrary and unjust.

According to Haniff, the court action is still valid as the Registrar of Societies (RoS) was named as its main respondent and their first two demands to the court were made against the RoS, while Umno was named as the second respondent.

Earlier, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor accused the Opposition of masterminding this action by the 16 members as a way to discredit Umno before the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9.

“The 16 are probably wolves in sheep’s clothing, thorns in the flesh. If they want to betray the party, it is better that they are out so that we know who our enemies are, rather than being in the party as termites,” he said.

Tengku Adnan said their allegation was baseless because he, as the Umno secretary-general, had requested RoS to have the party elections postponed to April 2019.

“If RoS had not given its approval, we would have had the party elections,” he said.

He added that there was no truth to a news portal report that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, as the Umno president, would be unable to sign the letters of electoral candidacy for the party’s election candidates following the filing of the application for judicial review.

“There is no problem. We abide by the constitution and we comply with the rules stipulated by the RoS,” he said.

On Friday, the 16 members, led by Seri Merpati Pandan Indah branch leader Salihudin Ahmad Khalid, filed an application for a judicial review on the extension of time granted by the RoS for Umno to hold its elections next year.

They said the action was against the party’s constitution, and want the order to be quashed.

They also want the RoS to investigate Umno for a breach of the party’s constitution and another order to suspend the party’s activities pending the court case.

In addition, they seek an order to dissolve Umno on grounds that the party is now “illegal”.