The UMNO's party elections, initially scheduled next year, has been postponed for 18 months, said UMNO president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The decision is made to strengthen the Barisan Nasional ahead of the 14th general election, Najib said at a press conference after chairing the UMNO Supreme Council meeting today.
Najib said such postponement had been done during his predecessors' time.

“It is important for us to prioritise the people, their needs, policies, grassroots and strengthening the party so that UMNO will be stronger ahead of the next general election,” he said.

‎UMNO deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had before this suggested that UMNO should not postpone its party polls but to hold it according to the time set by the party’s constitution.

READ: Don't postpone UMNO 2016 election, says Muhyiddin

Muhyiddin also suggested for the UMNO constitution to be amended next year to enable younger generation to contribute and play a bigger role in the party.

“I believe UMNO will not split if the election is held. UMNO leaders are matured enough to handle it,” said Muhyiddin had said during his speech at the official opening of the UMNO party wings at the Putra World Trade Centre last year.

UMNO held its party election in October, 2013 after it was postponed to pave way for the 13th General Election. The election was initially scheduled to be held in 2012.

The current UMNO leadership mandate will end in 2016 while the current parliament mandate will end in 2018.

Meanwhile, when asked why the 18-months postponement is announced so early, Najib said it was to allow party members to work on their KPIs.

‘If we don’t decide now, many will speculate,” he added.

On speculations of a Cabinet reshuffle after the Aidilfitri celebration, Najib said all quarters should be patient.