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Rabu, Februari 04, 2009

UPDATE5 Perak Menteri Besar Dissolves state assembly, while BN stakes claim to form new state govt

Rabu, 4 Februari 2009 • Kategori: Berita Semasa, Berita Utama, English News, Nasional, Parlimen, Politik

Pakatan Rakyat state government has dissolved the state assembly and has gone to seek confirmation from the Sultan …

Adds latest on <>Najib’s press conference<>Mahathir fears Najib’s overly desperate moves may boomerang back<>Jelapang assemblywoman reportedly resigned from DAP<>Bota assemblyman ‘kidnapped’<>Behrang and Changkat Jering duo say they are Independents

By Wong Choon Mei

Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has dissolved the state assembly and is awaiting confirmation from the Sultan before calling for a snap election.

Meanwhile, incoming Umno president Najib Abdul Razak told a press conference that the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak had fallen.

He claimed that four former Pakatan assemblymen will be “Barisan Nasional-friendly” Independents, while Bota assemblyman, Nasarudin Hashim, has agreed to return to Umno.

Said Nizar: “Even though we have governed well and done good work there have been attempts to rob the right of the people who have chosen a Pakatan Rakyat government.”

Said Najib: :”All three state representatives - Jamaluddin, Osman and Hee - have submitted resignation letters to their former parties and have informed the Sultan of their resignation. They have also given BN the mandate to select a new menteri besar for Perak.”

Under the constitution, the Sultan’s consent must be obtained. However, the Rulers do not normally withhold their consent once the state executive, in this case Nizar, recommends so.

“Currently, Nizar is still the Menteri Besar. It is within his right to call for a dissolution of the state assembly,” said KeADILan information chief Tian Chua.

Overly-desperate Najib lashes out, even Mahathir fears for him

With the odds stacked against them, Pakatan leaders are hoping that the Sultan will stand for fair play and show his displeasure against the underhanded methods displayed in the past two weeks by incoming Umno president, Najib Abdul Razak, and his party mates.

“We have been trying to soft-land the entire episode, rather than just arbitrarily call for snap election. It has not been easy,” said Tian.

“There were so many issues to explain to the rakyat - from the viewpoint of morality over defections, money politics, the latest disgraceful behaviour of the EC and the non-stop cross-talk from Umno-Barisan Nasional people.”

Even former premier Mahathir Mohamad is wary about Umno’s latest rash grab for power and the negative feedback it may spark for his protege Najib.

Najib, who is also deputy premier and finance minister, is under intense pressure to perform. His political prestige as a leader of the Malay community is at stake.

Bogged down by a string of scandals, his popularity is at a low and he cannot afford any more electoral defeats, or risk being ousted in his own party.

“Is Umno so desperate that it cannot wait for the criminal court decision against them before accepting them,” Mahathir wrote in his blog, referring to the Feb 10 corruption trial awaiting the Behrang and Changkat Jering assemblymen.

“If they are accepted now and then found not guilty, the so-called Umno-led government will be accused of influencing the court. True or not does not matter as the public’s perception is such. It will have an effect in the 13th general election.”

Return the mandate to the people, let the people decide

At the centre of the storm are Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi from Behrang and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu from Changkat Jering, who were allegedly being enticed by Najib.

Their pre-signed letters of resignations were accepted by the state Speaker V Sivakumar on Sunday, but the EC refused to abide by his decision and on Tuesday, declared the seats still held by the pair.

Both, who are due to face corruption charges later tis month, have been intentionally giving conflicting stories to the press in a bid to avoid being pinned down to a disadvantageous position.

They have declared that they are now Independents, but the Pakatan state government has said it will not recognise them as assemblymen.

“Since they are no longer with the state government, they will not be allowed to attend any exco meetings or enter into the state assembly hall as assemblymen,” said Nizar.

Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong has reportedly resigned from her DAP party and intends to sit as an Independent.

“This is getting way out of hand,” said Tian. “We need the Sultan to come out and stop all this nonsense. Put it to the people again and let them decide who they really want to govern them.”

Snap election the most popular choice

In an SMS poll run by The Star from Monday to Tuesday, 77.1 percent of respondents believe that the best way out of the Perak impasse was to dissolve the state government and call for fresh state-wide election.

Meanwhile, civil society group Aliran has joined the growing queue calling for snap election.

It also joined in the nationwide condemnation of the Election Commission, which yesterday angered the nation by refusing to fix by-election dates for the Behrang and Changkat Jering state seats.

“Legally there exist no doubts as to the vacancies of these two seats but there are clearly doubts as to why the Election Commission chose to take this decision which is without doubt ultra vires,” said Aliran president P Ramakrishnan.

“Aliran would also like to appeal to His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Perak, in all humility, to kindly consent to the dissolution of the state assembly as a way to overcome this deadlock.”

[More to follow]