(Updated 8:39pm; 5 Feb 2009)
PETALING JAYA, 5 Feb 2009: Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has informed the Sultan of Perak that he is not stepping down until the state’s political crisis is resolved by the legislative assembly or the courts.
Nizar cited Article XVI(6) of the Perak state constitution which states: “If the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly, then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.”
“This means the support for the menteri besar must be decided at the state assembly,” Nizar said in a three-page letter that was delivered to the Sultan in the late afternoon.
He also said it was inaccurate to assume that that the Barisan Nasional (BN) had the majority of seats in the state assembly because the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat both had 28 seats each.
“The state assembly speaker has already declared that the elected representatives for Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang are no longer state assemblypersons.
“The speaker and the state government have also filed an application in the High Court this morning to declare that the three are no longer state assemblypersons.
“It is only appropriate that we wait for the court’s decision on this matter,” Nizar said.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is Perak BN chairperson, announced that Bota state assemblyperson Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim had rejoined Umno after defecting to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) on 25 Jan 2009.
Three other assemblypersons — Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) — remain as “friendly” independents who will support the BN in any vote in the Perak state assembly.
Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman, both formerly from PKR, are facing corruption charges. Hee was from the DAP.
Nizar added in his letter to the Sultan that the Pakatan Rakyat leadership was unanimous in asking him not to step down as menteri besar until the constitutional crisis in the state was resolved by the court or the state assembly.
Nizar appealed to the Sultan, based on these reasons and the principles of democracy and of a constitutional monarchy, to dissolve the state assembly so that the people can go to the polls to choose the government that they want.
Earlier today, Sultan Azlan Shah decided he would not give his consent for the state assembly to be dissolved after meeting with the 28 BN assemblypersons and the three independents who have stated their support for the BN.
He also decreed that Nizar and his state executive council must step down with immediate effect.
The Sultan’s office, in a statement today, said that after meeting all the 28 Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblypersons and the three independents, the sultan was convinced that Mohammad Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the state assembly members.
Earlier, Bernama reported that Nizar held a press conference after meeting with Pakatan Rakyat leaders at 3pm. At the same press conference, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Pakatan supported Nizar’s stand and asked that the Perak state constitution be respected.
“We believe that this problem can be resolved and that the Perak Sultan will give his due consideration.”
Anwar also claimed that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had wrested power in Perak by buying over the assemblymen and issuing threats.
“Only the court can resolve the matter by calling for a new state election,” he said and urged PR supporters to be calm.
Meanwhile, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang who agreed with Anwar’s views, said even the rulers needed to follow the laws in a democracy and under the constitutional monarchy system.
He said Pas was of the view that legally, Mohammad Nizar was still the Menteri Besar until the issue was resolved.
Abdul Hadi said what was happening in Perak was a violation of the state constitution and the country’s democratic system.
DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang described the situation as “abnormal, shocking and alarming”.
Earlier, the Perak state government leaders held a meeting with PR leaders which took more than an hour from 3pm at the Menteri Besar’s residence.