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16 Umno members seek to challenge party's legality

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Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) arrives to address the annual congress of his ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), in Kuala Lumpur on December 7, 2017

[KUALA LUMPUR] Sixteen Umno members have filed leave for a judicial review to challenge the legality of the party.

They are asking the court to compel the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to provisionally dissolve Umno, and for RoS to suspend all Umno's activities until the judicial review is completed, the Star online newspaper reported on Friday.

The applicants are also seeking a declaration that all Umno branches and divisions and the supreme council do not have legal effect, and should be dissolved effective today (April 20).

The applicants are also seeking a court order to cancel any decision by the RoS, which allowed an extension of time for the Umno elections at all levels.

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The 16 are arguing that the last day for Umno branches to hold their elections was on Feb 28 and the last day for the supreme council and 191 divisions to function was Thursday (April 19).

The branches last held their elections on Aug 31, 2013 and were supposed to hold a fresh election by Aug 31, 2016. However, they were granted an extension of 18 months by the RoS until Feb 28 this year.

The 16 claim the (second) extension given by the RoS to Umno to hold its elections next year was against their party constitution and they want the order quashed.

They say that under Umno's constitution, party elections can be only extended up to 54 months.

The applicants are Umno members from 11 branches in six states.

They are seeking an order to compel RoS to carry out its duty under Sections 13, 14, 16 and 66 of the Societies Act 1966 (Act 335), to conduct an investigation or give written feedback on the letters addressed to it.