A fiery Nizar makes his last stand before thousands

By Shannon Teoh, Adib Zalkapli and Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin made a burning pledge tonight “to fight to his last drop of blood” as he addressed more than ten thousand supporters at the compound of his official residence as a crescendo of horns could be heard blaring from motorists outside in support.

“This will be where Najib will be buried,” he told the cheering crowd, referring to deputy Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s role in today’s power grab.

“I was forced to seek dissolution of the state assembly as the Election Commission would not conduct the by-elections. Then I was asked to resign.

“I will keep fighting,” said the normally impassive Nizar.

Nizar added that he would boycott tomorrow’s swearing-in ceremony of the Barisan Nasional (BN) mentri besar.

Instead, he will attend special prayers at the Ubudiah mosque next to the royal palace in Kuala Kangsar.

Shouts of Allahuakbar rang out throughout the rally tonight amid a light drizzle at the mentri besar’s residence here as thousands of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters turned up for a public rally in support of the embattled Nizar.

There is strong police presence outside the house, just a stone’s throw from the Umno building and the Istana Kinta, but this did not stop the public from turning up, causing a massive traffic jam in the city.

Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim walks with lawyer Haris Ibrahim and Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin to a public rally at the Perak Menteri Besar's residence in Ipoh

Earlier, various PR leaders addressed the crowd, but their rhetoric was frequently drowned out by the roars of the supporters.

Many supporters were seen carrying banners calling for the dissolution of the state assembly and for power to be returned to the people.

But despite accusing the Barisan Nasional (BN) of executing a coup, the loss of the state government is already a fait accompli as Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, the BN assemblyman for Pangkor, is already preparing to be sworn in tomorrow at 3.30pm in Kuala Kangsar

The situation remains tense here as police have taken control of the state secretariat.

Nizar has refused to resign, claiming he is still the legitimate chief executive in the state.

Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin have also turned up to show their support

Earlier this afternoon, PR leaders said they planned to seek an audience with the state ruler in order to persuade him to change his mind about not dissolving the state assembly.

An appeal letter has now been sent to the Sultan’s office.

Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin surrounded by supporters on what may his last night in the Menteri Besar's official residence. On his right is the DAP's Ronnie Liu

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the PR alliance of Pas, PKR and DAP fully supported Nizar, and wanted the matter “returned to the court of the people”.

“BN has twisted it as if we are committing treason. But we are merely pleading.

“The leadership council of Pakatan will seek an audience with the Sultan,” he told reporters.

Tonight’s planned rally is meant to show public support for the state assembly to be dissolved.

It is understood that officials from the state secretariat and the police have been trying to get Nizar and his state executive council to vacate the official MB’s residence, but have so far failed.

Earlier, Sultan Azlan Shah announced his refusal to give his consent for the dissolution of the Perak state assembly, and asked Nizar to resign in a statement carried by national news agency Bernama.

And if Nizar refused to resign, the post would be declared vacant.

This has paved the way for BN to form the next state government.

The office of the Sultan of Perak, in a statement, said that after meeting all the 28 BN assemblymen and the three independents, the Sultan was convinced that Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the state assembly members.

They came, they shouted their support… the Pakatan Rakyat government will not go quiet into the night

“If YAB Datuk Seri Ir Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin does not resign his post as Perak menteri besar together with the members of the state executive council, the posts of menteri besar and state executive councillors are considered vacant,” the statement said.

It is understood that a candidate for the MB’s position has already been proposed to the Sultan, who has given his approval.

This evening Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi had a short audience with the Sultan but it is unclear what was discussed.

This morning, the Sultan concluded a busy morning of talks with both Nizar and Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a bid to break the political impasse in the state.

He met Najib twice before summoning Nizar to his palace as well.

In his second audience with the Sultan, Najib brought along the 28 BN state legislators and the three independents backing the coalition to see the Ruler to make his case for a new government.

When he met Nizar, the Sultan asked Nizar to resign, to which the MB said he would not.

“The Sultan told me that BN has 31 to 28 but I told him that was inaccurate as three have vacated their seats.

“I asked for consent to dissolve to protect the rights of the people,” Nizar told reporters at the official residence of the MB here.