Nizar to meet Sultan at 5pm


By Adib Zalkapli and Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin has obtained an appointment to meet Sultan Azlan Shah at 5pm today in an attempt to head off attempts by the opposition Barisan Nasional to form a new state government.

Nizar will seek the Sultan's consent to dissolve the state assembly amid swirling rumours more Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen are defecting to BN, on top of the three who have turned independent.

BN is expected to make an announcement this afternoon offering to form a new state government in Perak.

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.

It is not clear when BN officials will seek an audience with the Sultan.

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.

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 Pakatan Rakyat 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.