Tug-of-war in Perak

(The Star) IPOH: It was a case of now you see it now you don’t as far as the two disputing “mentris besar” of Perak are concerned.

Before Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin could even warm his seat at the mentri besar’s office in the State Secretariat building yesterday, news flashed that his successor was back to being mentri besar — pending an appeal.

Ironically, both Nizar and Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir had called press conferences at the same time the news was released, with the former stationing himself at the mentri besar’s office and the latter at the Perak Umno headquarters here.

Dr Zambry, who had caught wind of Nizar’s press conference, even held off his meeting for 15 minutes until 2pm, hoping to be able to rebut what his opponent had to say.

At this point however, the political situation in Perak is so uncertain that statements from either party could either be overtaken by events, in contempt of court, sub judice or be used to start another series of legal action.

All smiles: Nizar and his wife Datin Seri Fatimah Taat sharing a light moment with the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah at Istana Iskandariah after an investiture ceremony yesterday.

Nizar, who just the day before was celebrating his first success in three months when the Kuala Lumpur High Court declared that he was the legitimate mentri besar, suddenly found his joy short-lived.

Dr Zambry, who vacated his office on Monday evening, returned to “power” the moment a stay of execution was granted in his favour.

Meanwhile, civil servants in the State Secretariat are in limbo.

For 10 months, they answered to Nizar and in the last three months, to Dr Zambry. On Monday, Nizar became their chief again.

Barely 24 hours later, Dr Zambry returned. And Nizar may make yet another comeback if the Court of Appeal rules in his favour.

As a result, the yo-yo game between the two mentris besar have left them even more confused than ever over which man was supposed to run the government.

Pressmen covering the political impasse in Perak too have been having a hard time keeping up with the duo’s designations.

“Who is the former mentri besar now?” lamented one journalist.

On Monday, they rushed to cover the removal of Dr Zambry and his exco men’s belongings from the State Secretariat.

Yesterday, they again flocked to the building to witness Nizar and his team reporting to work at 7.30am.

When the court decision on the stay of execution was announced at 1.15pm, reporters thronged the State Secretariat for the third time, this time to witness Nizar clearing out from the building.

Today, the media will again be at the building to see Dr Zambry reporting back to work.

In this never ending game of tug-of-war between Barisan and Pakatan, no one has been spared, especially not the Perakians, and an air of uncertainty still hangs over the entire state.

On Monday, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim had granted a declaratory relief to Nizar that he is still and was the mentri besar at all material times.

The court, which issued a declaratory relief that Dr Zambry had no right to occupy the office of Perak Mentri Besar, also ordered him to show cause and give information under what policy, power or authority he allegedly held office and exercised the responsibilities, functions and duties as mentri besar.