As anger simmers, Najib stays away from Ipoh

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

The tense atmosphere in Perak has prompted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to skip Chinese New Year festivities in the Perak state capital.

Najib was scheduled to attend a new year dinner at SRJK (C) Yuk Choi in Ipoh but will now remain in Kuala Lumpur.

No official reason was given but The Malaysian Insider understands that it was to avoid aggravating an already tense situation.

Police presence in the state capital is still evident with roadblocks guarding the Umno headquarters and the state still buzzing about the clashes between protesters and police that accompanied the swearing in of the Umno menteri besar in Kuala Kangsar, about 30 minutes from Ipoh, yesterday.

Text messages are also being sent out asking people to boycott the function or hold candlelight vigils.

Many Pakatan Rakyat supporters have also camped out at the official residence of the menteri besar, which has now become Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin's "seat of government".

Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, who was sworn in as menteri besar yesterday, has said that Nizar can take his time to vacate the residence and he will continue using his current home in Ipoh for the moment.

The Malaysian Insider has also learnt that Zambry will likely skip the dinner as well and concentrate on a meeting tonight with Umno division leaders and state assemblymen to discuss recent developments.

Discussions are ongoing to determine the new state executive council line-up.

Zambry will likely have to make a trip down to Kuala Lumpur to brief Najib on the list now that the latter will not be coming to Ipoh.

The proposed state executive council list is expected to be finalised by mid-afternoon tomorrow and then presented to the Sultan for his approval.

Rehearsals for the swearing-in ceremony will be held on Monday and the actual swearing in is on Tuesday.