BN will offer to form new Perak government?

(The Malaysian Insider) – The Barisan Nasional is expected to make an announcement this afternoon offering to form a new state government in Perak, even as Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin races against time to seek consent from Sultan Azlan Shah to dissolve the state government.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for a press conference in Putrajaya today at 4pm, and speculation is rife that he will be making the announcement on behalf of BN.

A number of senior BN assemblymen are already making their way to Putrajaya.

Earlier, political circles were buzzing with talk that Sultan Azlan Shah had asked Nizar to form a unity government amid swirling rumours that deputy state speaker Hee Yit Foong has also turned independent.

If her move is confirmed, the Jelapang assemblywoman joins two PKR state assemblymen who have declared themselves independent and makes Nizar's administration a minority government. The Pakatan Rakyat government now holds 29 seats to Barisan Nasional's 27 in the 59-seat assembly.

Nizar has also delayed a press conference scheduled at 1pm which had given rise to speculation that he would dissolve the state assembly.

The menteri besar is hoping to be granted an audience with the Sultan this afternoon to seek consent for the state assembly to be dissolved and pave the way for snap polls.

The PR alliance of PKR, Pas and DAP are confident of winning fresh polls with a bigger mandate.

The BN coalition is hoping, however, to be able to secure the support of the three renegade PR lawmakers who have now turned independent to form the government.

With their backing, BN will hope to attract even more PR lawmakers to defect.

Constitutional experts have said calling for snap polls is the only way out of the Silver State's political quagmire with the Election Commission refusing to call for by-elections in Behrang and Changkat Jering.

The PR government has already given the Election Commission 48 hours from yesterday to reverse its decision.

Social pressure group Aliran has added its voice to objecting the Election Commission's decision, saying it has no inherent powers to decide whether a vacancy has occurred in a constituency.

"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," Aliran president P. Ramakrisnan said in a statement.

He lamented that the decision will perpetuate the problem of party hopping plaguing Perak, saying the razor-thin majority will ensure "the uncertainties of governance will continue to exist to the detriment of the people and their welfare".

"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," Ramakrishnan said.