United Malays National Organisation

The United Malays National Organisation (Malay: Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu; Jawi: ڤرتوبوهن‌ كبڠسائن ملايو برساتو), abbreviated UMNO (Jawi: أمنو; /ˈʌmn/) or lesser known as PEKEMBAR (Jawi: ڤكمبر), is a political party in Malaysia. Often referred to as Malaysia's "Grand Old Party",[7] it is a founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition which, with its predecessor the Alliance, had been the government of Malaysia and dominated the country's politics from independence in 1957 until the party's defeat in the 2018 Malaysian general election in 2018. Until then, all of Malaysia's Prime Ministers had been members of UMNO, until Mahathir Mohamad became the first prime minister from Pakatan Harapan, and the first prime minister to have tenures with two different parties. Following Mahathir's resignation in 2020, the party subsequently rejoined the government with nine ministerial positions in the Muhyiddin cabinet, but withdrew its support on 8 July 2021 (same date as the date the Homeland Fighters' Party was approved by the Registrar of Society (ROS)).

United Malays National Organisation
Malay namePertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu
ڤرتوبوهن كبڠسأن ملايو برساتو
PresidentAhmad Zahid Hamidi
ChairpersonBadruddin Amiruldin
Secretary-GeneralAhmad Maslan
First Deputy PresidentMohamad Hasan
Second Deputy President (Women Chief)Noraini Ahmad
Vice-PresidentIsmail Sabri Yaakob
Mahdzir Khalid
Mohamed Khaled Nordin
Treasurer-GeneralTengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
Youth ChiefAsyraf Wajdi Dusuki (Pemuda)
Zahida Zarik Khan (Puteri)
FounderOnn Jaafar
Founded11 May 1946
Legalised11 May 1946
13 February 1988 (UMNO Baru)
Preceded byUnited Malays Organisation
USNO (in Sabah)
BERJAYA (in Sabah)
HeadquartersTingkat 38, Menara Dato’ Onn, Putra World Trade Centre, Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
NewspaperNew Straits Times
Berita Harian[nb 1]
Harian Metro[nb 2]
Youth wingPergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia
Women's wingPergerakan Wanita UMNO Malaysia
Women's youth wingPergerakan Puteri UMNO Malaysia
Student wingKelab Mahasiswa UMNO
Membership (End of 2020)3.35 Million[2]
IdeologyKetuanan Melayu[3][4]
Malay nationalism
National conservatism[5]
Islamic conservatism[6]
Political positionRight-wing
National affiliationAlliance (1952–1973)
Barisan Nasional (since 1973)
Muafakat Nasional (since 2019)
Perikatan Nasional (2020-2021)
Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (since 2020)
Colours  Red and   white
SloganUnited, Loyal, In Service
Bersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat
AnthemBersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat
Dewan Negara:
9 / 70
Dewan Rakyat:
38 / 222
Dewan Undangan Negeri:
143 / 607
Chief minister of states
5 / 13
Election symbol
Party flag
  • Politics of Malaysia
  • Political parties
  • Elections

1. Red and white have been used since before independence.

UMNO's goals are to uphold the aspirations of Malay nationalism and the concept of Ketuanan Melayu, as well as the dignity of race, religion and country.[8] The party also aspires to protect the Malay culture as the national culture and to uphold, defend and expand Islam across Malaysia.[9][10]

In the 2018 UMNO leadership election, which was considered by many as crucial to the party's progression, former Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was elected UMNO president, defeating former UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin, and UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.[11]


After the British returned to Malaya in the aftermath of World War II, the Malayan Union was formed. However, the Union was met with much opposition due to its constitutional framework, which allegedly threatened Malay sovereignty over Malaya. A series of Malay congresses were held, culminating in the formation of the nationalist party, UMNO on 10 May 1946 at the Third Malay Congress in Johor Bahru, with Datuk Onn Jaafar as its leader. UMNO strongly opposed the Malayan Union, but originally did not seek political power. UMNO had no choice but continue playing a supporting role to the British colonial administration. The British cooperated with UMNO leaders and helped to defeat the communist insurgency.[12]

In 1949, after the Malayan Union had been replaced by the semi-autonomous Federation of Malaya, UMNO shifted its focus to politics and governance. According to at least one official school textbook published during UMNO's time in government, the party fought for other races once they were at the helm of the country.[13]

In 1951, Onn Jaafar left UMNO after failing to open its membership to non-Malay Malayans to form the Independence of Malaya Party.[14] Tunku Abdul Rahman replaced Dato' Onn as UMNO President. In the following year, the Kuala Lumpur branch of UMNO formed an ad hoc and temporary electoral pact with the Selangor branch of Malayan Chinese Association to avoid contesting the same seats in the Kuala Lumpur municipal council elections.[15] UMNO and MCA eventually carried nine out of the twelve seats, dealing a crushing blow to the IMP. After several other successes in local council elections, the coalition was formalised as an "Alliance" in 1954.[16]

In 1954, state elections were held. In these elections, the Alliance won 226 of the 268 seats nationwide. In the same year, a Federal Legislative Council was formed, comprising 100 seats. 52 would be elected, and the rest would be appointed by the British High Commissioner. The Alliance demanded that 60 of the seats be elected, but despite the Tunku flying out to London to negotiate, the British held firm. Elections for the council were held in 1955, and the Alliance, which had now expanded to include the Malayan Indian Congress, issued a manifesto stating its goals of achieving independence by 1959, requiring a minimum of primary school education for all children, protecting the rights of the Malay rulers as constitutional monarchs, ending the Communist emergency, and reforming the civil service through the hiring of more Malayans as opposed to foreigners.[17][18]

When the results were released, it emerged that the Alliance had won 51 of the 52 seats contested, with the other seat going to PAS (the Pan-Malayan Islamic Party, a group of Islamists that split from UMNO). The Tunku became the first Chief Minister of Malaya.[19]

Throughout this period, the Malayan Emergency had been on-going. The Malayan Races Liberation Army, supported by the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), committed acts such as tearing down farms, disrupting transportation and communication networks, attacking police stations, and so forth. Their stated goal was the end of colonialism in Malaya. The British declared the MCP, along with several left-wing political groups, illegal in 1948. In 1955, the Alliance government together with the British High Commissioner declared an amnesty for the communist insurgents who surrendered. Representatives from the Alliance government also met with leaders of the MCP in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully, as their manifesto in the election stated. Chin Peng, the MCP Secretary-General, insisted that the MCP be allowed to contest elections and be declared a legal political party as a pre-condition to laying down arms. However, the Tunku rejected this, leading to an impasse.[20]

In 1956, the Tunku led a group of negotiators, comprising Alliance politicians and representatives of the Malay rulers, to London. There, they brokered a deal with the British for independence. The date of independence was set as 31 August 1957 on the condition that an independent commission is set up to draft a constitution for the country. The Alliance government was also required to avoid seizing British and other foreign assets in Malaya. A defence treaty would also be signed.[21]

The Reid Commission, led by Lord William Reid, was formed to draft the constitution. Although enshrining concepts such as federalism and a constitutional monarchy, the proposed constitution also contained provisions protecting special rights for the Malays, such as quotas in admission to higher education and the civil service, and making Islam the official religion of the federation. It also made Malay the official language of the nation, although the right to vernacular education in Chinese and Tamil would be protected. Although the Tunku and the Malay rulers had asked the Reid Commission to ensure that "in an independent Malaya all nationals should be accorded equal rights, privileges and opportunities and there must not be discrimination on grounds of race and creed," the Malay privileges, which many in UMNO backed, were cited as necessary by the Reid Commission as a form of affirmative action that would eventually be phased out. These measures were included as Articles 3, 152 and 153 of the Constitution.[22][23]

Independence was declared by the Tunku in Merdeka Stadium on 31 August 1957, marking a transition into a new era of Malayan and Malaysian politics.


Tunku Abdul Rahman, first Prime Minister of Malaya

In Malaya's first general elections in 1959, the Alliance coalition led by UMNO won 51.8% of the votes and captured 74 out of 104 seats, enough for a two-thirds majority in parliament, which would not only allow them to form the government again but amend the constitution at will. However, for the Alliance, the election was marred by internal strife when MCA leader Lim Chong Eu demanded his party be allowed to contest 40 of the 104 seats available. When the Tunku rejected this, many of Lim's supporters resigned, and ran in the election as independents, which cost the Alliance some seats.[24]

In 1961, the Tunku mooted the idea of forming a federation named "Malaysia", which would consist of the British colonies of Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak, and also the British Protectorate of Brunei. The reasoning behind this was that this would allow the federal government to control and combat communist activities, especially in Singapore. It was also feared that if Singapore achieved independence, it would become a base for Chinese chauvinists to threaten Malayan sovereignty. To balance out the ethnic composition of the new nation, the other states, whose Malay and indigenous populations would balance out the Singaporean Chinese majority, were also included.[25]

After much negotiation, a constitution was hammered out with some minor changes. For instance, the Malay privileges were now made available to all "Bumiputra", a group comprising the Malays and other indigenous peoples of Malaysia. However, the new states were also granted some autonomy unavailable to the original nine states of Malaya. After negotiations in July 1963, it was agreed that Malaysia would come into being on 31 August 1963, consisting of Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. Brunei ultimately decided to opt-out of the federation due in part because of an armed revolt by the People's Party (Parti Rakyat Brunei) which objected to the formation of Malaysia,[26] and the Sultan of Brunei Omar Ali Saifuddien III's demand that he be recognised as the most senior Malay ruler—a demand that was rejected.[27]

The Philippines and Indonesia strenuously objected to this development, with Indonesia claiming Malaysia represented a form of neocolonialism and the Philippines claiming Sabah as its territory. The United Nations sent a commission to the region which approved the merger after having delayed the date of Malaysia's formation to investigate. Despite further protests from the Indonesian President, Sukarno, the formation of Malaysia was proclaimed on 16 September 1963. Indonesia then declared a "confrontation" with Malaysia, sending commandos to perform guerilla attacks in East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak). The confrontation was ended when Suharto replaced Sukarno as president. The Philippines, which had withdrawn diplomatic recognition from Malaysia, also recognised Malaysia around the same time.[28]

To reflect the change of name to Malaysia, UMNO's coalition partners promptly altered their names to the Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress. Several political parties in East Malaysia, especially Sarawak, also joined the Alliance to allow it to contest elections there.

In the 1963 Singapore state elections, the Alliance decided to challenge Lee Kuan Yew's governing People's Action Party through the Singapore Alliance Party. UMNO politicians actively campaigned in Singapore for the Singapore Alliance, contending that the Singapore Malays were being treated as second-class citizens under the Chinese-dominated PAP government. All of the UMNO-backed Malay candidates lost to PAP candidates. UMNO Secretary-General Syed Jaafar Albar travelled to Singapore to address the Malay populace. At one rally, he called the PAP Malay politicians un-Islamic and traitors to the Malay race, greatly straining PAP-UMNO relations. The PAP politicians, who saw this as a betrayal of an earlier agreement with the Alliance not to contest elections in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, decided on running on the mainland in the 1964 general election. Although the PAP contested nine Parliamentary seats and attracted large crowds at its rallies, it won only one seat. The strain in race relations caused by the communal lines along which the political factions had been drawn led to the 1964 Race Riots in Singapore.

Alliance leaders also were alarmed at Lee's behaviour, which they considered unseemly for the Chief Minister of a state. They thought he was acting as if he were the Prime Minister of a sovereign nation. Finance Minister Tan Siew Sin of the MCA labelled Lee as the "greatest, disruptive force in the entire history of Malaysia and Malaya." Lee now seemed determined to press forward politically and continue contesting elections nationwide, with the formation of the Malaysian Solidarity Council—a coalition of political parties which called for a "Malaysian Malaysia", duplicating the effort introduced earlier by Dato' Onn Ja'afar.

On 7 August 1965, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, seeing no alternative to avoid further bloodshed, advised the Parliament of Malaysia that it should vote to expel Singapore from Malaysia. Despite last-ditch attempts by PAP leaders, including Lee Kuan Yew, to keep Singapore as a state in the union, the Parliament on 9 August 1965 voted 126–0 in favour of the expulsion of Singapore.

Tunku opened his speech in Parliament with the words, "In all the 10 years of my leadership of this House I have never had a duty so unpleasant as this to perform. The announcement which I am making concerns the separation of Singapore from the rest of the Federation."[29][30] On that day, Lee Kuan Yew announced that Singapore was a sovereign independent nation and assumed the role of prime minister. After the separation and independence of Singapore in 1965, the Singapore branch of UMNO was renamed the Singapore Malay National Organisation (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura).


After the separation of Singapore from the Federation, the Alliance leaders focused on continuing its policies. One involved the Malay language, which was the official language of Malaysia. UMNO sought to reduce the reliance on English in government affairs. In this, it was aided by PAS, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which backed special rights for the Bumiputra, and the strengthening of Islam's position in public affairs. However, the PAP's Malaysian branch, which had now become Democratic Action Party (DAP), took a very strong stance against this, and continued the expelled PAP's call for a "Malaysian Malaysia". In 1968, the newly formed Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia or Gerakan, led by Lim Chong Eu, also adopted the DAP's stance.[31]

Matters came to a head in the 1969 general election. When polling closed on the mainland peninsula (West Malaysia) on 10 May, it emerged the Alliance had won less than half of the popular vote, although it was assured of 66 out of 104 Parliamentary seats available. Much of the losses came from the MCA, thus straining relations between the two parties. However, the Alliance was dealt an even larger blow on the state level, losing control of Kelantan, Perak, and Penang.[32]

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) declared a national emergency after being advised by the national government to do so. Parliament was suspended, with a National Operations Council (NOC) led by Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak of UMNO, taking over the government. Further polling in East Malaysia as a continuation of the general election was also postponed indefinitely. Although the Cabinet still met under the Tunku as Prime Minister, his role was largely symbolic, with Tun Razak taking over the role of chief executive.[33]

UMNO backbencher Mahathir Mohamad, who had lost his Parliamentary seat in the election, wrote a letter to the Tunku criticising his leadership. Mahathir organised a campaign with University of Malaya lecturer Raja Muktaruddin Daim, circulating his letter among the student bodies of local universities. Mass demonstrations broke out calling for "Malay sovereignty" and the Tunku's ousting. After rioting broke out in June, Home Affairs Minister Ismail Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak agreed to expel Mahathir and former Executive Secretary of UMNO Musa Hitam from the party for breaching party discipline.

The suspended elections in East Malaysia were held in 1970, and restored the Alliance government's two-thirds majority in parliament. On 31 August that year, the Tunku announced the national ideology of Rukunegara and his planned retirement as Prime Minister in favour of Tun Razak. He also stated Parliament would be restored the following year.[34]

The New Economic Policy

After Tun Razak succeeded the Tunku in 1970, he began asserting UMNO's leadership in the Alliance more strongly. When the Tunku led the coalition, he had always consulted Alliance leaders regarding policy—if an Alliance leader objected, the policy was not passed. Under Tun Razak, UMNO was the base of the Alliance and thus the government. The NOC which he led until Parliament reconvened consisted of 7 Malays, one Chinese and one Indian.[35]

In Tun Razak's cabinet, the two most powerful men other than him were Ismail Abdul Rahman and Ghazali Shafie, who had declared the Westminster-style Parliamentary system inappropriate for Malaysia. Tun Razak also readmitted to the party "ultras" who had been expelled, like Mahathir and Musa Hitam. Mahathir gained notoriety after his expulsion from UMNO by authoring The Malay Dilemma, a book promptly banned from Malaysia, which posited that the Malays are the definitive people of Malaysia, and thus deserved special rights as the sovereign people of the nation. It also controversially argued that the Malays needed affirmative action to overcome deficiencies in their genetic stock.[36]

Hussein Onn, son of UMNO founder Dato' Onn Ja'afar, soon became a rising star in UMNO. After Ismail died suddenly of a heart attack in 1973, Hussein Onn succeeded him as Deputy Prime Minister. In the cabinet reshuffle that promoted Hussein Onn, Mahathir was given the key post of Minister for Education.[37]

The Tun Razak government announced the New Economic Policy in 1971. Its stated goal was to "eventually eradicate poverty... irrespective of race" through a "rapidly expanding economy" which emphasised to increase the Malays' share in the national economy to a reasonable portion between all the races. The NEP targeted a 30 per cent Malay share of the economy by 1990. The government contended that this would lead to a "just society" ("Masyarakat Adil"), the latter slogan being used to promote acceptance of the policy. Quotas in education and the civil service that the Constitution had explicitly provided for were expanded by the NEP, which also mandated government interference in the private sector. For instance, 30% of all shares in initial public offerings would be disbursed by the government to selective Bumiputras. The old civil service hiring quota of 4 Malays for every non-Malay's was effectively disregarded in practice; between 1969 and 1973, 98% of all new government employees were Malay. Five new universities were opened under the NEP, two of which were targeted to focus on the poor Malays and Muslim citizens.[38]

Tun Razak also began shoring up the government by bringing in several former opposition parties into the fold of the Alliance. Gerakan, PPP, PAS, and several former opposition parties in East Malaysia joined the coalition, which was renamed as Barisan Nasional. Barisan was formally registered as an organisation in 1974, the same year in which a general election was held.[39]

There had been much internal conflict in the National Front regarding the election; in 1973, Lim Keng Yaik and several supporters of his aggressive pro-Chinese stance left the MCA for Gerakan. This contributed to internal strife, as the MCA was no longer the sole representative of Chinese interests in the National Front.[40]

Discontent among student organisations in Malaysian universities soon posed a new problem for the UMNO-led government. However, Mahathir in his capacity as Minister for Education issued a stern warning to university students and faculty not to become involved in politics. However, after stories that children of rubber tappers had died after consuming poisonous wild yam due to poverty, university students reacted by staging the 1974 Baling demonstrations. The demonstrations resulted in the arrest of over 1,000 students, including Anwar Ibrahim who wasdetained under the Internal Security Act. In 1975, parliament passed amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act which banned students from expressing support of or holding positions in any political party or trade union without written consent from the university's Vice-Chancellor.[41] The act also banned political demonstrations from being held on university campuses. In 1976, however, mass demonstrations were held at the MARA Institute of Technology, protesting the UUCA. Mahathir then threatened to revoke the scholarships of the students, most of whom relied on public support to pay their way through university.[42]

BN was also challenged in Sarawak after the 1974 election, which saw the Sarawak National Party led by James Wong become tied with the DAP as the largest opposition party in Parliament, both of them holding nine seats each. SNAP had campaigned against BN on a platform of opposing Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Ya'kub's pro-Malay policies, charging them with alienating the rural indigenous natives of Sarawak, such as the Iban. SNAP had been expelled from the Alliance in 1965 for supporting increased autonomy for Sarawak. In the aftermath of the election, Abdul Rahman ordered the detention of James Wong under the Sedition Act. SNAP elected a new leader, Leo Moggie, who secured the release of Wong and the entry of SNAP into BN in 1976.[43]

In Sabah, BN controlled the state government through the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO), which strongly backed UMNO's pro-Malay and pro-Islam policies. In 1973, Islam was made the official Sabah state religion (the official religion of Sabah was originally Christianity, as permitted by the agreement signed before the merger), and usage of indigenous languages such as those of the Kadazan people was discontinued in favour of the Malay language. The USNO Chief Minister, Mustapha Harun, was also known for favouring political patronage as a means of allocating valuable timber contracts, and living an extravagant lifestyle, being ferried to his A$1 million Queensland home by jets provided with Sabahan public funds.[44]

UMNO Baru (New UMNO)

Mahathir Mohamad

On 24 April 1987, UMNO held its Annual General Assembly and triennial Party election. The then Prime Minister and party President, Mahathir Mohamad, faced his first party election in 12 years, having been elected unopposed since the 1975 UMNO election.

The politics of the Malays, particularly UMNO politics, had undergone a sea change in the first few years of the Mahathir stewardship, and the party presidency was challenged for the second time in 41 years. The first challenge was a dull affair in which Hussein Onn was opposed by a minor party official named Sulaiman Palestin. In fact, in the early 1950s, Tunku Abdul Rahman's presidency had also been challenged by C. M. Yusof, who later became the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, but Tunku was not properly considered an incumbent then, being only a care-taker president.

The 1987 contest was a vastly different matter. Mahathir was opposed by his very popular former Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. The press took to referring to Mahathir and his supporters as Team A, and Razaleigh's camp as Team B. Team B included then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam, who was also the incumbent Deputy President of UMNO seeking re-election, as well as Datuk Suhaimi Kamaruddin, the former head of UMNO Youth and president of the Belia 4B youth organisation.[45]

Team B was critical of Mahathir's policies, arguing that the Malaysian New Economic Policy had failed to benefit the poor Malays. It also criticised Mahathir's leadership style, alleging he acted unilaterally without consulting other leaders in UMNO and the Barisan Nasional. Team B was also perceived as less Islamist than Mahathir's faction.[46]

Mahathir claimed that the charges against him were groundless, and suggested that his opponents were fracturing Malay unity and were only motivated by greed.[46]

Eventually, Mahathir was returned to office. However, he was elected with such a small majority of 43 (761 against 718 votes) that questions were immediately raised about his mandate. Team B supporters, many of whom had been anticipating a victory of similar margins, suspected that the election had been fixed. The Team B candidate for Deputy President, Musa Hitam, had also been defeated by Ghafar Baba of Team A, while two of the three Vice-Presidents were Team A candidates. The Supreme Council comprised 16 Team A candidates and 9 Team B candidates.[47]

Allegations were made that several delegates who had voted were drawn from UMNO branches not properly registered. There were also several unproved allegations being bandied about that the balloting process had not been above board.[48]

Nevertheless, Razaleigh pledged to support Mahathir, provided that a "witch hunt" was not launched. However, Mahathir promptly purged the government cabinet of all Team B members, and launched similar reshuffles in state and local governments.[49]

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.[48]

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.[50]

"'It is a very hard decision to declare UMNO unlawful,' said Justice Datuk Harun Hashim in his February 4 judgement. 'But the law was made by our Parliament and certainly UMNO was aware [of the Societies Act] because they were in the majority [in Parliament] at all times [when the law was made].' Under the 1966 Act, amended five times over the years, and most recently by Mahathir's government, each of the society's branches has to register separately with the Registrar...."[50]

The Tunku and former UMNO President Hussein Onn set up a new party called UMNO Malaysia, which claimed to be the successor to the old UMNO. UMNO Malaysia was supported mainly by members of the Team B faction from UMNO, but Mahathir was also invited to join the party leadership. However, the party collapsed after the Registrar of Societies refused to register it as a society without providing an explanation.[51]

Mahathir showed no interest in reviving UMNO, and instead he set in motion the machinery to form a new surrogate party, and in due course, registered a party formally called Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu (Baru) or UMNO (New) a week after UMNO Malaysia's registration was rejected. Eventually the suffix "(New)" was dropped, and UMNO (Baru) became both the de facto and de jure successor of UMNO (with the old UMNO's assets handed over).[52] Most of its leaders, however, were selected from Team A of the old UMNO, with Team B ignored.[53]

In 10th general election in 1999, rocked by the arrest and trial of former UMNO deputy Anwar Ibrahim and the subsequent formation of the Barisan Alternatif opposition coalition, UMNO's share dipped to 54% of the vote and 102 out of 144 seats.


Abdullah Ahmad Badawi served as the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2003-2009.
Najib Tun Razak served as the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2009-2018.

After Mahathir stepped down as President of UMNO in 2003, he was replaced by his designated successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who by virtue of his new position also became Prime Minister of Malaysia. Najib Razak, the son of Tun Abdul Razak, took over as the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.

In the 11th general election in 2004, Barisan Nasional, under Abdullah's leadership, enjoyed a landslide victory. However, in the 12th general election in 2008, the coalition for the first time fell short of a two-thirds majority in the Parliament. UMNO Chief Ministers were ousted in the states of Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah. As a result, Abdullah resigned as President of UMNO and Prime Minister in 2009. He was succeeded by Najib.

Under Najib's leadership, UMNO gained a total of 9 seats in the 13th general election and retook the state of Kedah.

On 9 May 2018, Mahathir and the Pakatan Harapan coalition won the 14th General Election ending UMNO's 61 year long rule as part of the Alliance and later Barisan Nasional coalition.[54] UMNO experienced a mass exodus of rank-and-file members, state chiefs, as well as Members of Parliament in favour of Mahathir's Bersatu and regionalist parties such as Parti Warisan Sabah in the months after the election.[55][56][57]

In September 2019, UMNO decided to form a pact with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party called Muafakat Nasional. Its main purpose is to unite the Malay Muslim communities for electoral purposes.[58] There is however no formal agreement with the other parties of Barisan Nasional, although there are calls for Barisan Nasional to migrate to Muafakat Nasional.[59][60] Barisan Nasional continued to function as a coalition of four parties comprising UMNO, MCA, MIC and PBRS, but aligned themselves with Perikatan Nasional to form a new government in March 2020 after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.[61]

On 23 February 2020,Muafakat Nasional pact of UMNO and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia held extraordinary meetings in Janda Baik, Pahang, UMNO's supreme council at Putra World Trade Centre.[62]

UMNO President, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi went to the Istana Negara in the evening to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. After the meeting, several opposition party leaders, including UMNO Vice President Ismail Sabri Yaakob joined Azmin's supporters at Sheraton Hotel.[63]

On 25 February, Following the first round of interviews, UMNO and PAS revealed that they have withdrawn their supports given earlier for Mahathir to continue as prime minister, and had instead called for parliament dissolution.[64] It was previously reported that as all political factions voiced their support for Mahathir, he was about to establish a "unity government" that the two parties could not agree with.[65][66] Annuar Musa, UMNO's secretary-general, said the basis of negotiations with Mahathir was that UMNO and PAS would lend their support to form an alternative coalition without DAP. Therefore, both PAS and UMNO declared their support for a snap election instead.[67]

On 28 February, All the Muafakat Nasional MPs signed the new SD proposing Muhyiddin Yassin to be the 8th Prime Minister.[68]

PPBM President Muhyiddin Yassin and his allies including party leaders from UMNO, PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, and Homeland Solidarity Party had an audience with the Agong.[69][70] He also announced that his coalition consisting of Bersatu, UMNO, PAS, PBRS, GPS, and STAR will be called Perikatan Nasional.

On 30 June, Salleh Said Keruak, former Sabah Minister Chief & former UMNO member canceled his application to join PKR after thinking deeply and taking into account today's political landscape including PKR's internal turmoil. He said, the decision was made last April and with the cancellation he remained non-partisan since leaving UMNO in 2018. Previously, Salleh applied to join PKR in October last year.[71]

On 24 July Zakaria Arshad, former CEO of FGV announced his departure from AMANAH to join UMNO. He said, the decision was made after he saw that the vision and objectives of Amanah were getting lost and not in line with his current position.[72]

In Muhyiddin cabinet, which formed on 10 March 2020, six UMNO MP's became Ministers & eight UMNO MP's became Deputy Ministers.

On 8 July 2021, the UMNO made an official announcement to withdrew its supports towards the Muhyiddin government,[73] citing the mismanagement of the COVID-19, the misuse of Emergency Declaration, and so on.[74]


UMNO overtly represents the Malays of Malaysia, although any Bumiputra (indigenous Malaysian, a category which includes people such as the non-Malay and usually non-Muslim Kadazan, Iban, Dayak, etc. of East Malaysia) may join the party. The party propagates Ketuanan Melayu, the concept that the Bumiputra, including ethnic Malays, enjoy a special status within the country by virtue of their earlier settlement of the lands that now form Malaysia and as a result of the recognition of Malays in Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia.[75]

List of leaders

Wanita Chief


# Name Term start Term end
1 Putih Mariah Ibrahim Rashid 1947 1949
2 Zainon Munshi Sulaiman 1950 1953
3 Khadijah Sidek 1954 1956
4 Fatimah Hashim 1957 1972
5 Aishah Ghani 1972 1986
6 Rafidah Aziz 1987 1996
7 Siti Zaharah Sulaiman 1996 2000
8 Rafidah Aziz 2000 2009
9 Shahrizat Abdul Jalil 26 March 2009 24 June 2018
10 Noraini Ahmad 25 June 2018 Incumbent

Pemuda Chief


# Name Term start Term end
1 Hussein Onn 1949 1951
2 Abdul Razak Hussein 1951 1951
3 Sardon Jubir 1951 1964
4 Senu Abdul Rahman 1964 1971
5 Harun Idris 1971 1976
6 Syed Jaafar Albar 1976 1977
7 Suhaimi Kamaruddin 1977 1982
8 Anwar Ibrahim 1982 1987
9 Mohd Najib Abdul Razak 1987 1993
10 Rahim Thamby Chik 1993 1994
11 Ahmad Zahid Hamidi 1996 1998
12 Hishammuddin Hussein 1999 2009
13 Khairy Jamaluddin 26 March 2009 24 June 2018
14 Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki 25 June 2018 Incumbent

Puteri Chief


# Name Term start Term end
1 Azalina Othman Said 2001 2004
2 Noraini Ahmad 2004 2009
3 Rosnah Shirlin 26 March 2009 12 October 2013
4 Mas Ermieyati Samsudin 12 October 2013 25 June 2018
5 Zahida Zarik Khan 25 June 2018 Incumbent

Structure and membership

Current office bearer

Official source

Elected representatives


  1. Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  2. Bashir Alias – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  3. Jefridin Atan – elected by the Johor State Legislative Assembly
  4. Kamarudin Abdun – elected by the Perlis State Legislative Assembly
  5. Mohamad Ali Mohamad – elected by the Malacca State Legislative Assembly
  6. Othman Aziz – elected by the Kedah State Legislative Assembly
  7. Sabani Mat – appointed by the Perlis State Legislative Assembly
  8. Siti Fatimah Yahaya – appointed by the Pahang State Legislative Assembly
  9. Yakubah Khan – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Members of Parliament of the 14th Malaysian Parliament

UMNO has 38 MPs in the House of Representatives.

State No. Parliament Constituency Member Party
 PerlisP001Padang BesarZahidi Zainul AbidinUMNO
P003ArauDr. Shahidan KassimUMNO
 KedahP007Padang TerapMahdzir KhalidUMNO
P016BalingAbdul Azeez Abdul RahimUMNO
 KelantanP026KeterehAnnuar MusaUMNO
P029MachangAhmad Jazlan YaakubUMNO
P032Gua MusangTengku Razaleigh Hamzah UMNO
 Terengganu P033 Besut Idris Jusoh UMNO
 PenangP041Kepala BatasReezal Merican Naina MericanUMNO
 PerakP055LenggongShamsul Anuar NasarahUMNO
P061Padang RengasMohamed Nazri Abdul AzizUMNO
P067Kuala KangsarMastura Mohd. YazidUMNO
P069ParitMohd. Nizar ZakariaUMNO
P073Pasir SalakTajuddin Abdul RahmanUMNO
P075Bagan DatukDr. Ahmad Zahid HamidiUMNO
 PahangP078Cameron HighlandsRamli Mohd. NorUMNO
P079LipisAbdul Rahman MohamadUMNO
P081JerantutAhmad Nazlan IdrisUMNO
P084Paya BesarMohd. Shahar AbdullahUMNO
P085PekanMohd. Najib Abdul RazakUMNO
P086MaranIsmail Abdul MuttalibUMNO
P087Kuala KrauIsmail Mohamed SaidUMNO
P090BeraIsmail Sabri YaakobUMNO
P091RompinHasan ArifinUMNO
 SelangorP095Tanjong KarangNoh OmarUMNO
 PutrajayaP125PutrajayaTengku Adnan Tengku MansorUMNO
 Negeri SembilanP126JelebuJalaluddin AliasUMNO
P127JempolMohd. Salim ShariffUMNO
P131RembauKhairy Jamaluddin Abu BakarUMNO
 MalaccaP139JasinAhmad HamzahUMNO
 JohorP147Parit SulongNoraini AhmadUMNO
P153SembrongHishammuddin HusseinUMNO
P155TenggaraAdham BabaUMNO
P156Kota TinggiHalimah Mohamed SadiqueUMNO
P157PengerangAzalina Othman SaidUMNO
P164PontianAhmad MaslanUMNO
 Sabah P176KimanisMohamad AlaminUMNO
P187KinabatanganBung Moktar RadinUMNO
TotalPerlis (2), Kedah (2), Kelantan (3), Terengganu (1), Penang (1), Perak (7), Pahang (9), Selangor (1), F.T. Putrajaya (1), Negeri Sembilan (3), Malacca (1), Johor (6), Sabah (2)

Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly)

State No. Parliament Constituency Member Party
 PerlisN2BeseriRuzaini RaisUMNO
N3ChupingAsmaiza AhmadUMNO
N4ChupingSiti Berenee YahayaUMNO
N5SantanAzizan SulaimanUMNO
N6BintongAzlan ManUMNO
N10KayangHamizan HassanUMNO
N11PauhRozieana AhmadUMNO
N12Tambun TulangIsmail KassimUMNO
N14Simpang EmpatNurulhisham YaakobUMNO
 KedahN19Sungai TiangSuraya YaacobUMNO
N36Bandar BaharuNorsabrina Mohd. NoorUMNO
 KelantanN25Kok LanasMd. Alwi Che AhmadUMNO
N27Gual IpohBakri MustaphaUMNO
N36Bukit BungaMohd. Adhan KechikUMNO
N38Kuala BalahAbd Aziz DerashidUMNO
N43NenggiriAb. Aziz YusoffUMNO
N44PalohAmran AriffinUMNO
N45GalasMohd. Syahbuddin HashimUMNO
 TerengganuN1Kuala BesutTengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd. RahamUMNO
N3JertihMuhammad Pehimi YusofUMNO
N4Hulu BesutNawi MohamadUMNO
N6PermaisuriAbd Halim JusohUMNO
N7LangkapSabri Mohd. NoorUMNO
N8Batu RakitBazlan Abd RahmanUMNO
N11Seberang TakirAhmad Razif Abdul RahmanUMNO
N12TelemungRozi MamatUMNO
N25Bukit BesiRoslee DaudUMNO
N30KijalAhmad SaidUMNO
 PenangN4Permatang BeranganNor Hafizah OthmanUMNO
N5Sungai DuaMuhamad Yusoff Mohd. NoorUMNO
 PerakN1Pengkalan HuluAznel IbrahimUMNO
N2TelemungSalbiah MohamedUMNO
N3KeneringMohd Tarmizi IdrisUMNO
N4Kota TampanSaarani MohammadUMNO
N7Batu KurauMuhammad Amin ZakariaUMNO
N10Alor PangsuSham Mat SahatUMNO
N12SelinsingMohamad Noor DawooUMNO
N13Kuala SepetangMohd. Kamaruddin Abu BakarUMNO
N14Changkat JeringAhmad Saidi Mohamad DaudUMNO
N15TrongJamilah ZakariaUMNO
N19ChenderohZainun Mat NorUMNO
N20Lubok MerbauJurij JalaluddinUMNO
N21LintangMohd Zolkafly HarunUMNO
N34Bukit ChandanMaslin Sham RazmanUMNO
N35ManongMohamed Zuraimi RazaliUMNO
N36Pengkalan BaharuAbd. Manap HashimUMNO
N39BelanjaKhairudin Abu HanipahUMNO
N40BotaKhairul Shahril MohamedUMNO
N48Ayer KuningSamsudin Abu HassanUMNO
N50Kampong GajahWan Norashikin Wan NoordinUMNO
N52PangkorZambry Abdul KadirUMNO
N53RungkupShahrul Zaman YahyaUMNO
N54Hutan MelintangKhairuddin TarmiziUMNO
N56Changkat JongMohd. Azhar JamaluddinUMNO
N58SlimMohd Zaidi AzizUMNO
 PahangN2JelaiWan Rosdy Wan IsmailUMNO
N3Padang TengkuMustapa LongUMNO
N5BentaMohd. Soffi Abd. RazakUMNO
N6Batu TalamAbd. Aziz Mat KiramUMNO
N8DongShahiruddin Ab MoinUMNO
N11Pulau TawarNazri NgahUMNO
N16InderapuraShafik Fauzan SharifUMNO
N17Sungai LembingMd. Sohaimi Mohamed ShahUMNO
N18LeparAbdul Rahim MudaUMNO
N20Pulau ManisKhairuddin MahmudUMNO
N21Peramu JayaSh. Mohamed Puzi Sh. AliUMNO
N22BebarMohd. Fakhruddin Mohd. ArifUMNO
N23ChiniMohd Sharim Md ZainUMNO
N25Kuala SentulShahaniza ShamsuddinUMNO
N27JenderakMohamed JaafarUMNO
N28KerdauSyed Ibrahim Syed AhmadUMNO
N31LanchangMohd Sharkar ShamsudinUMNO
N32Kuala SemantanNor Azmi Mat LudinUMNO
N36PelangaiAdnan YaakobUMNO
N37GuaiNorol Azali SulaimanUMNO
N39KemayanMohd. Fadil OsmanUMNO
N40Bukit IbamSamsiah ArshadUMNO
N41Muadzam ShahRazali KassimUMNO
N42TiomanMohd. Johari HussainUMNO
 SelangorN1Sungai Air TawarRizam IsmailUMNO
N3Sungai PanjangMohd. Imran TamrinUMNO
N5Hulu BernamRosni SoharUMNO
N8Sungai BurongMohd Shamsudin LiasUMNO
N24SemenyihZakaria HanafiUMNO
 Negeri SembilanN2PertangNoor Azmi YusufUMNO
N3Sungai LuiMohd Razi Mohd AliUMNO
N5SertingShamshulkahar Mohd. DeliUMNO
N6PalongMustafa NagoorUMNO
N15JuassehIsmail LasimUMNO
N16Seri MenantiAbdul Samad IbrahimUMNO
N17SenalingAdnan Abu HasanUMNO
N19JoholSaiful Yazan SulaimanUMNO
N26ChembongZaifulbahri IdrisUMNO
N27RantauMohamad HasanUMNO
N28KotaAwaludin SaidUMNO
N31Bagan PinangTun Hairuddin Abu BakarUMNO
N32LinggiAbdul Rahman Mohd. RedzaUMNO
N34GemasAbdul Razak SaidUMNO
N35GemenchehMohd. Isam Mohd. IsaUMNO
 MelakaN1Kuala LinggiIsmail OthmanUMNO
N2Tanjung BidaraMd Rawi MahmudUMNO
N3Ayer LimauAmiruddin YusopUMNO
N4LenduSulaiman Md AliUMNO
N5Taboh NaningLatipah OmarUMNO
N6RembiaMuhammad Jailani KhamisUMNO
N10AsahanAbdul Ghafar AtanUMNO
N11Sungai UdangIdris HaronUMNO
N12Pantai KundorNor Azman HassanUMNO
N18Ayer MolekRahmad MarimanUMNO
N25RimGhazale MuhamadUMNO
N26SerkamZaidi AttanUMNO
N27MerlimauRoslan AhmadUMNO
N28Sungai RambaiHasan Abd RahmanUMNO
 JohorN01Buloh KasapZahari SaripUMNO
N16Sungai BalangZaiton IsmailUMNO
N18Sri MedanZulkurnain KamisanUMNO
N20SemarangSamsol Bari JamaliUMNO
N22Pasir RajaNor Rashidah RamliUMNO
N25RengitAyub JamilUMNO
N26MachapAbd. Taib Abu BakarUMNO
N27Layang-LayangOnn Hafiz GhaziUMNO
N34PantiHahasrin HashimUMNO
N35Pasir RajaRashidah IsmailUMNO
N38PenawarSharifah Azizah Syed ZainUMNO
N39Tanjung SuaratSyed Sis Syed A. RahmanUMNO
N53BenutHasni MohammadUMNO
N56KukupMd. Othman YusofUMNO
 SabahN2BengkokaHarun DurabiUMNO
N9TempasukMohd Arsad BistariUMNO
N10UsukanSalleh Said KeruakUMNO
N13Pantai DalitJasnih DayaUMNO
N16KarambunaiYakubah KhanUMNO
N24Tanjung KeramatShahelmey YahyaUMNO
N29Pantai ManisMohd Tamin @ Tamin ZainalUMNO
N48SugutJames RatibUMNO
N51Sungai ManilaMokran IngkatUMNO
N52Sungai SibugaMohamad Hamsan Awang SupainUMNO
N58LamagBung Mokhtar RadinUMNO
N59SukauJafry AriffinUMNO
N67BalungHamild @ Hamid AwangUMNO
N71Tanjong BatuAndi Muhammad Suryady BandyUMNO
-Nominated MemberRaime UnggiUMNO
-Nominated MemberSuhaimi NasirUMNO
TotalPerlis (9), Kedah (2), Kelantan (7), Terengganu (10), Penang (2), Perak (25), Pahang (24), Selangor (5), Negeri Sembilan (15), Malacca (14), Johor (14), Sabah (14)

UMNO state governments

State Leader type Member Party State Constituency
 JohorMenteri BesarHasni MohammadUMNOBenut
 MalaccaChief MinisterSulaiman Md AliUMNOLendu
 PerlisMenteri BesarAzlan ManUMNOBintong
 PahangMenteri BesarWan Rosdy Wan IsmailUMNOJelai
 PerakMenteri BesarSaarani MohamadUMNOKota Tampan

General election results

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
34 / 52
589,933 58.90% 34 seats; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
Tunku Abdul Rahman
52 / 104
553,160 35.75% 18 seats; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
Tunku Abdul Rahman
59 / 104
458,854 38.10% 7 seats; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
Tunku Abdul Rahman
52 / 144
7 seats; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
Tunku Abdul Rahman
62 / 144
10 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Abdul Razak Hussein
70 / 154
8 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Hussein Onn
70 / 154
; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Mahathir Mohamad
83 / 177
1,474,063 31.06% 13 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Mahathir Mohamad
71 / 180
12 seat; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Mahathir Mohamad
89 / 192
18 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Mahathir Mohamad
72 / 193
17 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Mahathir Mohamad
109 / 219
2,483,249 35.9% 37 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
79 / 222
2,381,725 29.33% 30 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
88 / 222
3,252,484 29.45% 9 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Najib Razak
54 / 222
2,548,251 21.10% 34 seats; Opposition coalition,
later Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Najib Razak

State election results

State electionState Legislative Assembly
Perlis State Legislative AssemblyKedah State Legislative AssemblyKelantan State Legislative AssemblyTerengganu State Legislative AssemblyPenang State Legislative AssemblyPerak State Legislative AssemblyPahang State Legislative AssemblySelangor State Legislative AssemblyNegeri Sembilan State Legislative AssemblyMalacca State Legislative AssemblyJohor State Legislative AssemblySabah State Legislative AssemblyTotal won / Total contested
2/3 majority
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
10 / 12
18 / 24
1 / 30
5 / 24
10 / 24
21 / 40
17 / 24
14 / 28
11 / 24
13 / 20
20 / 32
9 / 12
18 / 24
8 / 30
20 / 24
10 / 24
22 / 40
17 / 24
13 / 28
14 / 24
13 / 20
20 / 32
9 / 12
12 / 24
10 / 30
12 / 24
4 / 24
18 / 40
16 / 24
12 / 28
11 / 24
11 / 20
19 / 32
54 / 68
8 / 12
12 / 26
13 / 36
18 / 28
9 / 27
22 / 42
23 / 32
19 / 33
15 / 24
13 / 20
20 / 32
10 / 12
14 / 26
22 / 36
27 / 28
9 / 27
23 / 42
24 / 32
19 / 33
15 / 24
13 / 20
20 / 32
9 / 12
19 / 26
22 / 36
22 / 28
10 / 27
24 / 42
24 / 32
20 / 33
15 / 24
13 / 20
20 / 32
12 / 14
20 / 28
28 / 39
29 / 32
12 / 33
26 / 46
25 / 33
26 / 42
18 / 28
12 / 20
22 / 36
12 / 14
22 / 28
0 / 39
22 / 32
12 / 33
27 / 46
25 / 33
26 / 42
18 / 28
12 / 20
21 / 36
19 / 48
13 / 15
26 / 36
6 / 43
24 / 32
12 / 33
30 / 52
28 / 38
30 / 48
20 / 32
16 / 25
25 / 40
10 / 15
16 / 36
2 / 43
4 / 32
10 / 33
26 / 52
21 / 38
26 / 48
20 / 32
16 / 25
25 / 40
24 / 48
12 / 15
23 / 36
21 / 45
27 / 32
14 / 40
34 / 59
31 / 42
35 / 56
22 / 36
18 / 28
33 / 56
32 / 60
12 / 15
12 / 36
6 / 45
23 / 32
11 / 40
27 / 59
29 / 42
18 / 56
19 / 36
18 / 28
32 / 56
32 / 60
12 / 15
19 / 36
12 / 45
17 / 32
10 / 40
30 / 59
28 / 42
12 / 56
21 / 36
17 / 28
32 / 56
31 / 60
9 / 15
3 / 36
8 / 45
10 / 32
2 / 40
25 / 59
24 / 42
4 / 56
15 / 36
13 / 28
14 / 56
17 / 60
145 / 587
14 / 73


Challenge to UMNO's right to exist

Every year, UMNO is obliged to hold the General Assembly to extend their rule according to the Clauses set by the Registry of Societies (RoS) Malaysia. And once every five years, UMNO is obliged to appoint their highest bodies. The last time UMNO held the election of the highest division and council level was on 19 October 2013. So the new election was supposed to be held on 19 April 2018. Their application for the postponement of the election until 19 October 2019 has to be approved by RoS in accordance with Clause 10.16. But critics have claimed that this is illegal and supposedly the existence of an UMNO organisation is banned.[79][80]


Media reports from June 2018 indicated that the MACC froze bank accounts associated with UMNO, purportedly in relation to investigations into the 1MDB controversy.[81]


  1. In 1972, the investment arm of UMNO bought out the Malaysian operations of Straits Times Press, which included Berita Harian. The bought over publications were placed under the management of the New Straits Times Press, which is also the name of its main publication [1]
  2. belongs to the same parent company as Berita Harian.


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