Missing Pakatan lawmaker denies resigning, Perak in chaos

By Leslie Lau, The Malaysian Insider

Perak was thrown into a state of confusion tonight after at least one of two missing PKR state legislators denied resigning, hours after the state legislative speaker declared their seats vacant.

Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mat Radzi said tonight that the “resignation letter” received by the speaker this evening was an undated document he was made to sign last March.

His “denial” will throw up questions on the legality or legitimacy of undated resignation letters, and also puts the focus on whether it will be the speaker, the Election Commission or even the courts which will decide such issues.

It is also the latest act in a power struggle which has lasted for weeks for control of the state government.

Earlier the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government in Perak appeared to have turned the tables on Barisan Nasional (BN) after the state legislative speaker declared vacant the two state seats held by the two PKR lawmakers who were expected to defect.

This would pave the way for by-elections for the two seats within 60 days.

Talk is also rife that a number of Umno state assemblymen are in talks to defect to PR.

The Speaker V Sivakumar said in a statement this evening that he had received resignation letters from the two PKR men had.

Sivakumar said he had received the letters by fax at his house.

He added that the Election Commission would be informed of the vacancy tomorrow.

The announcement capped a dramatic day which began when Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin said he would lodge a police report over the disappearance of Jamaluddin and Changkat Jering assemblyman Osman Jailu.

There have been swirling rumours that Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman, who were charged in a Sessions Court on Aug 25 last year with allegedly receiving bribes over the application for a RM180mil housing project in Sri Iskandar in Perak Tengah, may have decided to defect to Umno in the hopes of getting off the charge.

Their case comes up for hearing on Feb 10.

It appears now that the resignation letters from the two men were undated documents submitted to party leaders immediately after the March general elections.

PR officials in Ipoh say they are confident of retaining the two vacant seats and have indicated that they are also optimistic of a number of defections from BN to strengthen their hold on the state government.

This latest political drama had been sparked by the defection of Umno’s Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim to PKR.

Following Nasarudin’s defection, the two PKR men disappeared.

Besides the two PKR men, there had also been rumours that that Hee Yit Fong, the deputy state assembly speaker and a DAP assemblyman is considering a defection to MCA.

The Malaysian Insider understands she wants to leave DAP because she does not get along with Nga Kor Ming, a DAP state exco member and Ngeh Koo Ham, the Perak DAP boss and senior exco member.