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Najib defers Perak crisis talks with PR

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 May 2009: After his initial offer to meet Pakatan Rakyat over the Perak political impasse, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak now wants to wait for the matter to be decided in court.

Najib said only after the court made its ruling on Perak’s lawful menteri besar would Barisan Nasional (BN) be able to decide whether to proceed with the talks.

“It is in the court so we need to respect the court process. The opposition also wants to take the matter to court.

“We have to determine our position according to the law, only then can we meet the opposition,” said Najib, who is also BN chairperson, at a press conference after a BN supreme council meeting today.

He was asked if talks with PR were discussed during the council meeting today. This follows Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim‘s response to Najib’s offer to meet. Anwar said PR was willing to come to the table, although it still maintained that fresh state elections were the best way to resolve the crisis.

Najib was also asked if respecting the court process meant that BN would not convene an emergency legislative assembly sitting in Perak to pass a vote of no-confidence against Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as menteri besar.

He said that would be for the BN state government to decide and in consultation with the Perak Ruler over convening an emergency sitting.

Najib also dodged a question on whether a prolonged Perak crisis without fresh elections would affect the BN’s credibility. He again deferred the matter to the court.

“Whatever it is, let the court decide. We can’t decide anything now,” he said.

Najib has been facing calls for fresh elections from individuals within the BN. These include senior Umno politician and Gua Musang member of parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Abdul Hamid Pawanteh, Penang Gerakan chief Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, and MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who today said he had met PAS vice president Datuk Husam Musa over fresh polls for Perak.

On 21 May, the Court of Appeal will hear Nizar’s application to set aside the stay order granted to rival menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir. The stay order was against the High Court ruling that Nizar was the lawful menteri besar.

The Court of Appeal will also hear Zambry’s appeal against the High Court decision together with Nizar’s application to set aside the stay order.

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