First Umno Baru general assembly

28 October 1988, KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad received a standing ovation at the first Umno Baru general assembly today.

On 25 June 1987, an appeal was filed by 12 of the UMNO delegates to have the assembly and the election of April 1987 declared null. After one of the delegates, Hussain bin Manap, withdrew unexpectedly in August from filing the appeal, the remaining litigants have since become famous as the “UMNO 11.” Although Razaleigh and Musa Hitam were not among the plaintiffs, it was widely believed that Razaleigh was funding the appeal.

After a series of interlocutory hearings over the discovery of documents that took more than seven months, the matter finally came before Justice Harun Hashim in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 4 February 1988. The judge ruled that under the existing law he had no option but to find the party, UMNO, to be an unlawful society due to the existence of several unregistered branches—an illegal act under the Societies Act of 1966. The question of the Assembly itself being illegal therefore became academic.

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