Assemblyman Nasarudin denies he defected for post

(The Sun) IPOH (Jan 28, 2009): Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashi today said he joined Perak's Pakatan Rakyat government on his own free will, denying news reports that there was political pressure or an offer of posts for his defection from Umno.

Nasarudin, who had gone into hiding after announcing that he was joining Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) at a press conference with PKR defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday, today met with Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and answered some questions from the press.

Looking cheerful and accompanied by state PKR leaders, Nasarudin, who is the first Umno assemblyman to defect to the opposition, said his constituents will support his move to switch from Umno to PKR, and that he will explain to them the rationale for his political move.

He claimed he did not believe in the struggle in Umno anymore and believes that Pakatan Rakyat can be more effective in serving the needs of his constituents.

Nasarudin said he had submitted his application letter to join PKR on Sunday itself when he announced his defection to PKR in Kuala Lumpur and he also submitted his resignation letter from Umno to the party the next day.

Mohammad Nizar said: "We do not force them (Umno members) to join us as they do it on their own free will. It is undemocratic to pressure such defections and we shall respect their wishes if they want to defect unconditionally to join PKR. We did not promise nor offer any posts to them to join us."

A Malay Daily had reported that Nasarudin was offered an exco post to join PR and state Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazal’si reportedly said PR state government is recruiting Nasarudin to fill in the shoes of state exco members Mohd Osman Mohd Jaitu and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi who are facing alleged corruption charges.

Nasarudin's announcement on Sunday had sent shock waves in Umno, and in an immediate reaction to stem further cross-overs, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak met all BN Perak representatives in Kuala Lumpur on Monday during which they reaffirmed their commitment to Umno.

It was reported today that Lintang assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Pakeh Adam and Pengkalan Baharu's Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar had expressed their frustration with Mohd Tajol, and were mulling their options if the situation in Umno did not change.

Nasarudin did not go into details on the problems in Umno yesterday. There was a closed-door meeting between Nijar and Nasarudin and PKR leaders after the 10-minute media conference ended.

Attempts by the Sun to contact Nasarudin on his mobile phone later failed as he had switched it off.

According to Perak’s new PKR state chairman Osman Abdul Rahman, Nasarudin had switched off his handphone as the political pressure from Umno was great.

Nasarudin was the former Parit MP and had won the Bota state seat last year by defeating PKR's Usaili Alias by a 2,068-vote majority.

Nasarudin, 58, who joined Umno in the 1970s was also a former Felcra Bhd chairman.

Pakatan Rakyat has now 32 assemblymen in Perak with Barisan Nasional having 27.