Two go ‘missing’ again as Perak drama continues

By Shannon Teoh and Neville Spykerman (The Malaysian Insider)

The battle for the Perak government continues today with the ruling Pakatan Rakyat putting pressure on two errant PKR executive councillors to make their stand clear even as it informs the Election Commission that the duo have resigned their state seats.

The two, Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Osman Jailu, were supposed to meet the press in Kuala Lumpur today to make their stand, but have again gone missing after failing to show up.

Jamaluddin however was evasive about his status apart from saying he has not resigned his state seat. Asked if was going independent, he told The Malaysian Insider by phone,"Not yet!".

A representative turned up instead and issued a short press release to reporters. Jamaluddin claimed he was in Pahang undergoing treatment for a bad back.

After declaring yesterday that Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Osman Jailu have resigned as Behrang and Changkat Jering assemblymen respectively, Perak state speaker V Sivakumar went ahead this morning to inform the state EC of the vacancies.

“I will now inform the EC headquarters and further decisions will be made from Putrajaya,” Perak EC chief Ahmad Adli Abdullah told The Malaysian Insider, confirming that Sivakumar visited him at 8am to inform him of the vacancies.

Although it is a public holiday in the Federal Territory today, a decision to hold a by-election could be made as soon as tomorrow.

The commission has confirmed it would be holding a meeting at 11am tomorrow to discuss the matter.

But the PKR men have denied resigning, saying the letters were written under duress after their electoral victory in March 2008.

Perak DAP head Ngeh Koo Ham has also added to the intrigue by denying this afternoon that any of his party’s representatives had ever been made to sign undated resignation letters.

While earlier calling on his two Exco members to make their stand clear, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin today avoided speaking to the press even after a scheduled government meeting or after he made a 25-minute visit to the palace for an audience with the Perak Sultan.

He is scheduled to hold an emergency Pakatan Rakyat meeting at 3pm at his residence today. The national Pas leadership is also meeting at his residence at 6pm to discuss the situation in Perak. Of the five states, Pas heads the government in three while DAP heads Penang and PKR heads Selangor.

Perak PKR is also refusing to state the obvious fact that Jamaluddin and Osman are set to leave the party, insisting that it has yet to receive any official resignation letters.

“We have not received any resignation letter, so as of now, they are still in the party,” PKR state chief Osman Abdul Rahman told The Malaysian Insider this morning.

He added that he has been unable to reach the two over the past five days and the party is considering its options now but want to wait for them to make clear their stand before proceeding.

“I understand they are making statements this evening. So we will decide after that,” he added.

DAP, meanwhile, remains confident that it will not lose any numbers in the current upheavals.

Rumours had surfaced that Jelapang assemblywoman and deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong was ready to defect to MCA after being unreachable early yesterday.

But she then turned up at her home in the evening, stating that she had merely switched her phone off to avoid persistent calls concerning the rumours and also denied she was quitting the party.

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, rumoured to be meeting Hee last night, also rubbished the speculation, saying that he had no plans to meet any Pakatan elected representatives on his trip to Ipoh to attend the state MCA media night.

DAP state exco member Thomas Su also told The Malaysian Insider that the party was in communication with all its assemblymen.

“All 18 DAP state lawmakers are accounted for,” he said.