KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Oct 2009: The Umno special general assembly today changed the rules of election for party posts by making it more open and abolishing the nomination quota system to stamp out money politics.
The special assembly, which began at 12.20pm, ended an hour later with the delegates unanimously approving the proposed amendments tabled by party vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Only four delegates stood up to debate on the proposed life membership fee of RM2.
The amendments took place six months after Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over the Umno presidency with the determination to make Umno more transparent, inclusive and democratic.
The first proposed amendment passed was increasing the number of delegates to choose the top party leaders and at the divisional level from 2,500 now to 146,500.
The enlarged number took into account the 500 delegates from each of the 191 divisions, making up 95,500, and another 51,000 from the party’s three wings in 17,000 branches nationwide, said Hishammuddin, who is also the chairperson of the Umno Constitution Amendments Committee.
“This new step gives recognition to the voice and role of the branch leaders in the three wings and the divisional delegates by being involved together in choosing the top leaders for the party,” he said.
The second amendment accepted was on abolishing the nomination quota system to make Umno more democratic, and to give as wide an opportunity to members to contest for party posts. The minimum requirement for contesting a post in the party’s supreme council is to register oneself and to have held a post in the supreme council or divisional committee for at least one term. To contest for a divisional committee post, one has to be a party member for at least three years.
The third amendment passed was on the appointment of an additional Wanita representative in the supreme council, divisions and branches to increase women’s voices in the party. With this, the number of appointed members in the supreme council is increased to 13 from 12, eight from seven at the divisional level, and six from five at the branch level.
The fourth amendment involves the setting up of the Umno Elections Committee to coordinate the logistics for the party elections, which will be held simultaneously.
The fifth amendment abolished the annual membership fee (RM1) and replaced with a life membership fee of RM2.
The sixth amendment allows the leaders of the party wings to accept new members so as to speed up the membership approval process, especially for young people.
The last amendment approved was on giving automatic delegate status to the division secretary to attend the Umno general assembly. This is aimed at recognising the contribution of this group, the pillar of the party’s administration at the divisional level.
Later at a press conference, Hishammuddin said his work after this would be to draw up the details of the new party rules, such as the issue of quorum raised by the delegates when debating on the amendments.
He said changes involving the party rules only needed the approval of the supreme council. — Bernama