Sultan told MB to resign :: Anwar to give press conference at 3pm

(New Straits Times) – The Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah has not consented to dissolution of State Assembly and asked Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign as Menteri Besar of Perak and if he failed to do so, the post is considered vacant.

Earlier Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin reportedly gave a positive signal when he left Istana Kinta after his audience with the Sultan of Perak. Meanwhile, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is supposed to give a press conference at 3pm.

12.59pm: Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin arrived at the Istana Kinta at 12.45pm for an audience with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

The Sultan of Perak is expected to make a decision as soon as possible on whether to accept a new state government or s snap poll.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said this after the second audience with the Perak Sultan.

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, meanwhile said he is summoned to the Istana.

Speaking in Bagan Serai, he expected the State Assembly to be dissolved to pave way for state election.

Earlier, Najib returned to Istana Kinta hardly an hour after the audience, bringing along with him the four defecting assemblymen.

PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will make an appearance at the MB's office at 3pm before attending a gathering at 7pm to protest the power transition.

Accompanying the DPM in the first audience was Datuk Zahid Hamidi, Minister in the PM's Department and Perak Umno deputy chief, all 27 BN assemblymen and the four defecting assemblymen. They all left Istana Kinta at 10.35am without talking to the media. Najib merely smiled and waved to the crowd.Najib had arrived at the palace at 9.50am.

Najib, who is also Perak Umno chief, is expected to chair a state Umno meeting at 12 noon to deliberate on nominations for a new Menteri Besar. He is scheduled to give a Press conference to reveal the identity of the new Menteri Besar and, also likely, the new agenda on governing the state.

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 Government and form a new BN entity. BN now possess 27 seats and controls four "friendly" assemblymen, making it a simple majority of 31 seats against PR's 28.

Najib had indicated that a new Menteri Besar will be nominated. The former MB, Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, had, in the aftermath of Nasarudin's defection to PKR, resigned as Perak Umno chief while 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 an application in the High Court to declare Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang state seats vacant, using pre-signed resignation letters to back the claim.

The DAP is also urging Hee, the Perak deputy speaker, to reconsider her decision to leave the party but Hee lodged a police report yesterday over a letter purportedly signed by the Perak Election Commission director stating she had been sacked as deputy speaker. It is learnt that Hee lodged the police report two hours after a press conference announcing her resignation from the DAP.

She was said to have been handed a copy of the letter by an unknown person immediately after the press conference, about 5.30pm. She stated in her report lodged at the district police station here that the contents of the letter were "lies and fabrication."

Over protests and demands that the three Pakatan assemblymen should vacate their seats, former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad the parties should not force defectors to resign.

"Voters can reject these assemblymen at the polls," he said.

DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang, writing in his blog, urged Najib to stop the attempt at what he described as "illegal and unconstitutional grab for power" in Perak.

"Respect the constitutional process and the mandate of the people of Perak," Lim implored.