Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung. Lim Kit Siang, at Perak State leadership training course held at Hotel excelsior, Ipoh on Sunday, on 20.9.1987, at 9.40 am.
UMNO party elections for UMNO President, Deputy President, Vice President and Supreme Council members may have to be held once again of the law suit by UMNO members challenging the legality of the April UMNO General Assembly is successful.
In the past few weeks, UMNO politics in the country had entered into a new phase, with the contending forces in UMNO preparing for the possibility of a re-run of the UMNO elections for the top UMNO positions in the near future.
The legality of the April UMNO General Assembly elections, where Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, defeated the challenger, Tengku Razaleigh, by a mere 43 votes to be returned as UMNO President and preserve his post as Prime Minister, is being challenged by some UMNO members in court.
This case is scheduled to be heard in court later this month. Opinion is fairly divided as to whether the UMNO suit will succeed in declaring the April UMNO General Assembly null and void, forcing a re-run of the elections for the posts of UMNO President, Deputy President, Vice President and Supreme Council seats.
It is clear that both sides in UMNO, Team A and Team B, are preparing for all eventualities. Recently, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed seemed to be on the campaign tril already, with his quiet, low-profile but highly significant nation-wide tour of the states, having gone to Johore, Pahang and Penang.
Team B is also not in hibernation. It is significant that Datuk Musa Hitam, who has left for Harvard, will be away for only three months although the attachment is normally for one year!
Many of the events which had taken place in the country in the past few weeks and months must be seen in the context of this possibility of a re-run of the UMNO party elections.
It is normal for party strategists for both Team A and Team B to prepare for all eventualities, and what would happen of the suit by UMNO members challenging the legality of the elections in the April UMNO General Assembly succeeds.
Of course, if the suit loses in the High Court, or eventually loses in the Supreme Court on appeal, then the status quo is not affected. But if the suit wins in the High Court, or will eventually succeed in Supreme Court on appeal, then a re-election of top UMNO posts will have to be held.
It is not for me to prejudge what the High Court or Supreme Court will decide, but clearly, UMNO leaders f both A and B Team and all other political parties must consider the likely scenario of the suit succeeds either at High Court or at Supreme Court on appeal.
If Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and his lieutenants are of the view that there is a possibility that they wil lose suit at Supreme Court level, then they have two options should they lose at the High Court level. Firstly, to appeal to Supreme Court where if they win, the status quo remains. Secondly, to accept the verdict of the High Court and to call for snap UMNO party re-elections – which will also deny the B Team time to campaign. Of course, if UMNO leadership wins the suit at High Court level, then it would not have to resort to these two options.
Be that as it may, it is important that all political parties and people at large should understand this important development in the country which is colouring so many isues and events in the country in the past few weeks and months, and the possibility that a re-run of UMNO election could be held in a mater of weeks and not months.