PUTRAJAYA, 4 Feb 2009: Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be seeking an audience tomorrow with the Perak Ruler, Sultan Azlan Shah, for the Barisan Nasional (BN) to attempt to form the new state government.
The deputy prime minister said this today after announcing that Bota state assemblyperson Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim has rejoined Umno after defecting to Parti Keadilan Rakyat 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.
Najib, with Nasaruddin (behind), Osman (red tie), Jamaluddin (striped tie) and Hee (front)
With Nasaruddin’s return to Umno, and the resignation of the other three from their parties, both the Pakatan Rakyat and the BN have 28 seats respectively in the 59-seat state assembly.
“Perak BN now has enough representatives in the state assembly to form a new state government [with the three ‘friendly’ independents],” Najib, who is also Perak Umno and Perak BN chief, told a press conference at his Putrajaya office.
He said Jamaluddin, Mohd Osman and Hee informed him last night that they had sent letters to Sultan Azlan Shah to inform him that they were leaving their parties.
“The three also stated their support for the BN in their letters to the Sultan,” Najib said.
Najib added that Bota assemblyperson Nasaruddin met him today to inform him that he wished to return to Umno.
All the four assemblypersons were at the press conference.
Under the Perak constitution, if the incumbent menteri besar loses the confidence of the assembly or the majority of the assembly, he [or she] and the state executive councillors must resign.
Najib said he would suggest a candidate for a new menteri besar to the Sultan, adding that the four assemblypersons would support whoever his named candidate was.
To a question on whether the support of the three independent candidates for the BN and the “crossover” by Nasaruddin back to Umno remain relevant if the state assembly is dissolved anyway, Najib replied, “That is the prerogative of the Sultan.”
On whether the BN was ready to face snap polls in Perak if the state assembly was dissolved, Najib again replied that it was up to the Sultan. Asked if he would coax the three independent representatives to join the BN, Najib said, “We’ll see how it develops.”
To a comment that he was sidestepping the ethical issue of defections, Najib said the four assemblypersons had “lost their trust in the menteri besar and the Perak government.”
To another question about the morality of the new BN state government, Najib stressed, in an apparent reference to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim: “No, we are not the ones who started this. Somebody wanted to take over the government on 16 Sept.”
He denied that any of the elected representatives were bought over.
Asked if the corruption charges against Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman would be dropped now that they had quit PKR, Najib said, “That is a separate issue.”
Tea party held after the press conference
Reasons for actions
Nasaruddin said he decided to rejoin Umno because he wanted political stability to return to Perak.
“Taking into account and respecting my electorate in Bota, as well as upholding the principles of democracy, and taking into consideration the advice and views of other politicians and my personal friends, I return to Umno and BN from today,” he said in a statement.
Osman said, “I left PKR because they had no confidence in me. I was only gone for a few days and they let me go just like that.”
Jamaluddin denied that he was bought over. “I support the BN because of the way PKR tried to force me out of the state assembly by invoking the (pre-signed, undated) resignation letter.”
Also present at the press conference were more than 30 Perak BN members, among them former Perak MB Datuk Seri Mohammad Tajol Rosli Ghazali, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, and Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.