MB meets Sultan, speaker meets EC (Update 2)

(The Star) IPOH: Perak Menteri Besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin was at the Istana Kinta here at 10am Monday to seek an audience with Sultan Azlan Shah.

He left after 25 minutes without speaking to reporters stationed outside the gate. He smiled, waved, and said “Thank you, we’ll meet again.”

Also on Monday morning, state assembly speaker V. Sivakumar met with the state Election Commission director.

He officially submitted the “resignation letters” of Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu so that by-elections can be called for the two seats within 60 days.

Jamaluddin has denied he has resigned, saying the undated letters were signed last March “under duress.” He and Mohd Osman will be holding press conferences Monday evening to announce their official stand.

“I am still the state assemblyman for Behrang. I have not resigned. I will challenge the validity of the letter as it was signed under duress,” Jamaluddin said on Sunday, adding that he was discussing with his lawyers as to his next course of action.

“My problems are with PKR leaders, not with the people of Behrang. I will not simply shirk my responsibilities to them,” he said.

He also denied rumours that he would be crossing over to Umno and Barisan Nasional, but confirmed that he would quit PKR and remain an independent.

Jamaluddin, 52, was the Perak Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Committee chairman while Mohd Osman, 57, headed the State Tourism and NGO Committee.

They 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. Their case comes up for hearing on Feb 10.

The Pakatan Rakyat state government is holding on to Perak with a razor-thin margin. It now holds 30 state seats against Barisan Nasional’s 27, with two seats up for grabs in the 59-seat State Assembly if by-elections are called.

Rumours were also rife that Perak state assembly deputy speaker Hee Yit Fong, the DAP representative for Jelapang, was going to resign as well and join MCA. Her “disappearance” Sunday caused another round of anxiety within Pakatan Rakyat.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng even came out with a statement stating that any Perak DAP elected representatives who was incommunicado for more than 24 hours without reason would find their seats vacated.

At a press conference late Sunday night at her residence, Hee hit out at Lim saying she was disappointed by his press statement, adding that he should have investigated first.

She also demanded Lim apologise to her constituents for causing the unnecessary uproar, and quashed claims that she had resigned from Pakatan and joined MCA or Gerakan.

Hee said she is still a DAP member and Jelapang’s elected representative.

Spate of meetings

PAS is calling for a meeting Monday to discuss the political developments in Perak, party deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa said Sunday.

“I only knew about the disputed resignation of the two assemblymen last night and have yet to receive a full report on the matter, I do not think that there will be more (people resigning or defecting).

“As it is, we are calling for a meeting to discuss the matter. More will be known on Monday morning,” he said.

Perak Pakatan Rakyat will also be holding an emergency meeting at Mohd Nizar’s official residence at 3pm Monday.

After Umno’s Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim crossed over to PKR on Jan 25, PKR and Umno have been involved in a psychological war, with both accusing each other of trying to pinch their assemblymen.