UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that he is leaving the dispute to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to determine the validity of the additional motion on no-contest for the top two party posts, passed at the recent Umno general assembly.
He said a report on the additional motion pertaining to the no-contest for the top two posts in the upcoming party polls needed to be approved to end the speculations raised by some disgruntled party members.
A report was lodged with ROS seeking an investigation into a possible breach of the party’s constitution.
ROS is empowered by the Societies Act 1966 and is the authority that oversees all societies. It supervises and oversees the registered societies, and ensures that all regulations are followed. ROS does not have any power to make any decision.
The issue Umno is facing is unequivocally subject to the rules and the constitution of its party. It is settled law that the members of a registered society are bound by its rules.
Under section 16(1) of the Societies Act 1966, the power given to ROS is to direct a society to settle its dispute. It has no power to determine the validity of the party’s constitution.
Another rationale stemming from section 7(2)(c) of the Act, is that any dispute between the parties in a society should, if possible be determined by the members of the society itself.
The interpretation itself shows that the intention of parliament was to give a narrow and limiting scope of ROS’ duty in only giving an opinion to the existence of a dispute and directing that society to settle the dispute by serving a notice to it .
The society may be de-registered as a result of such non-compliance with the notice under section 13(1)(c)(ix) of the Act. Pendaftar Pertubuhan v Datuk Justine Jinggut  1 MLJ 362 (FC) was referred in the case of, Fauzi bin Hassan (menyaman sebagai pemangku Presiden Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia dan/atau Ahli DPMM & Ors v ABD Halim Bin Husin & Ors  MLJU 2432.
Hence, Umno is bound by their party’s constitution. Reference should be made to the Umno Supreme Council, since referring to the registrar will be futile.
As a result, the authority to determine the validity of the non-contest seat remains within their internal organisation. – January 24, 2023.
* Matilda George reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.