Najib now in audience with Sultan in bid to form new BN Perak Government

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR, Thurs (10:25am):

At Istana Kinta in Ipoh now, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is now in audience with the Sultan of Perak to seek his consent to the formation of a new Perak Government. Accompanying the DPM is Datuk Zahid Hamidi, Minister in the PM's Department.

The BN's bid was born out of the yesterday's sensational defections of four Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen to Barisan Nasional – assemblymen for Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (both from Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and Hee Yit Foong of DAP had left the state government to be "friendly independents" to BN. Hee is also the deputy speaker of the Perak state assembly.

Umno also welcomed back Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim, who left on Jan 25 to defect to PKR, only to re-defect to Umno.

With the four assemblymen in tow, BN can claim that they have the numbers to topple the PR State Govdrnment and form a new BN entity.

Najib had indicated that a new Menteri Besar will be nominated. The former MB was Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali had resigned as Perak Umno chief after admitting that he was not "strong enough" to lead the party in the state.

However, Perak Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin had an audience with the Ruler yesterday, seeking his consent to the dissolution of the state assembly to clear the way for fresh state elections.

It is now a question of who will prevail with the Sultan of Perak: the BN with the required number of seats to form a new state government or the Pakatan Rakyat, which has lost the numbers, but wants a snap state election.

Nizar said the Sultan may consult the advice of lawyers to make the correct decision to avoid a constitutional crisis.

In the meantime, Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar will fle a claim in the High Court to declare Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang state seats vacant, using pre-signed resignation letters to back the claim.