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UMNO transformation begins with abolition of quota system next week

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (Bernama) -- Umno takes a big step forward in its transformation process next week when it holds a special general assembly to amend its constitution to abolish the nomination quota system for candidates vying for top posts in the party.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is optimistic that the constitutional amendments would transform the party into a more open one and attract young people as members to carry on championing the party's cause.

"These measures (amendments) will rejuvenate and strengthen Umno," he told a news conference on the 2009 Umno general assembly, here.

The nomination quota system, introduced in 1996, requires those wanting to contest the post of president to garner a minimum of 30 per cent or 58 nominations (from the 191 Umno divisions), deputy president (20 per cent or 38 nominations), vice president (10 per cent or 19 nominations) and supreme council seat (five per cent or 10 nominations).

Tengku Adnan said the Umno grassroots were pushing for minimal conditions for members who wanted to contest the posts of president and deputy president to ensure that no one stood for these posts for the fun of it.

There were proposals for candidates for the posts to have served as Umno members for a specific period, besides holding posts at the branch and divisional levels and having an understanding of the party's direction, he said.

He said the grassroots felt that minimal conditions were necessary because the party president and deputy president would also hold the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister, respectively.

Tengku Adnan said: "Both the party president and deputy president do not want any condition for the contests for the top posts but the grassroots are pushing for minimal conditions."

The special general assembly will be held on Thursday after the normal general assembly is adjourned for a while.

Tengku Adnan said the general assembly this time around would be held over four days instead of the usual five, and would be without the presence of representatives of Umno clubs as well as foreign observers because the party had held its 2008 general assembly only in March.

The general assembly would debate only one resolution, on the policy address of the party president, he said.

He said the general assembly would begin with the general assemblies of Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno which would be opened simultaneously by Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday night and would continue on Wednesday.

The Umno general assembly would be held on Thursday and would be opened by party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, he said, adding that the assembly would be adjourned soon after Najib's address to accommodate the special general assembly.

"Each person allowed to speak during the debate on the resolution will be allotted 15 minutes, and the special general assembly is expected to end at about 4pm before the general assembly resumes," he said.

Tengku Adnan said 2,539 delegates would attend the general assembly. Former party presidents Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have also been invited to attend, he added.

So far, 876 media representatives from 37 media organisations, eight of them foreign, have registered to cover the assemblies, he said.

He also said that emphasis was given to 1Malaysia at the coming general assembly, and that all bags of the delegates would carry the 1Malaysia logo.

MySinchew 2009.10.08



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