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KiniGuide: How to sack an Umno president

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KINIGUIDE | Embattled Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that he would only step down from his post if an extraordinary general assembly is called, and two-thirds of delegates call for his resignation.

However, Sinar Harian quoted Zahid as saying that this would be no easy feat, as there are "146,000" delegates.

In this edition of KiniGuide, Malaysiakini explores the processes involved should Umno choose to sack its president.

Can an Umno president be sacked?

Yes. According to Article 9.12 of the Umno constitution, members of the supreme council – including the president and deputy president – can be sacked with the support of two-thirds of delegates at an EGM.

Alternatively, two-thirds of delegates at an EGM can also disband the entire supreme council.

Article 9.11 states that if the entire supreme council steps down at the same time, then the permanent chairperson or his deputy must call for an EGM in 60 days to reform the supreme council.

This will likely entail a re-election, although there is no specific provision for re-elections in the Umno constitution.

How can an EGM be called?

Umno can hold an EGM in three ways, according to Article 8.5 of the party constitution.

It can be called either by the president, or with the written request of two-thirds of the Umno supreme council.

Alternatively, it can be requested by half of Umno's 191 divisions, if those divisions have also held an EGM to discuss the matter.

If it is requested by the divisions, the Umno secretary-general must call for the EGM within 14 days.

If the secretary-general does not comply, then the Umno permanent chairperson or his deputy must call for the EGM within 28 days.

Failing both these options, the divisions can hold the EGM themselves.

Does Umno need 146,000 delegates to hold an EGM?

There are differing interpretations of this.

Some say that Article 9.12 must be read together with amendments to the party's election process, which widened the number of those who can vote to over 146,000.

However, there is nothing that explicitly differentiates delegates at an EGM and the general assembly.

In 2017 and 2018, only 5,739 delegates attended the Umno general assembly.

This year, 2,760 were main body members; while 993 were from Wanita, 997 from Youth and 989 from Puteri.

What happens if a president is sacked?

If the Umno presidency falls vacant, then Article 9.9 of the party constitution states that the post will be filled by the deputy president until the next party elections.

If the acting president steps down, then the supreme council must appoint one of the vice-presidents to hold the post.

This instalment of KiniGuide is compiled by ZIKRI KAMARULZAMAN.

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