IPOH, 12 Feb 2009: Pakatan Rakyat is going to give up the Perak Menteri Besar’s official residence and the official cars used by executive councillors — two symbols they have clung on to as evidence of the Pakatan state government’s legitimacy.
However, embattled Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said doing so did not mean Pakatan Rakyat was giving up its claim as the rightful government.
Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (left) and Nizar (right)
Nizar said he would vacate the MB’s official residence by next weekend even though he will not resign from the post.
He said he was expecting a letter from the state secretary ordering his eviction and would abide by it “to show respect”.
“We will leave in a dignified manner in a week to ten days’ time. I was called by the state secretary who informed me that I will be getting a letter asking me to vacate the residence, although there is no deadline.
“I respect that. But it does not jeopardise our stand as the legitimate government,” Nizar said at a press conference at the residence this afternoon.
He said the BN-appointed MB Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir could move right in, “kalau dia tak malu”. Nizar is to look for a rented house from which to continue his exco’s operations.
The MB’s house has become a symbol for Nizar and Pakatan Rakyat in staking their claim as the state government.
Since Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak decided on 5 Feb to accept the new Barisan Nasional government and ordered Nizar’s resignation, the embattled MB has held fast and even conducted exco meetings at the residence.
“The MB’s residence has been the symbol of our legitimacy for the past one week, but after we move out, the symbol is still there because we would have filed a suit, and we will continue meeting the rakyat in our capacity as the legitimate government.
“Saya hanya berhijrah sekejap, I will return,” he quipped.
Nizar confirmed that he would file a civil suit against Zambry at 11.30am tomorrow, at the High Court at the Kuala Lumpur Jalan Duta court complex.
Nizar said he was seeking a High Court declaration that he and his excos are the legitimate government in Perak, and to cancel the appointment of Zambry and the BN excos.
A gathering of Pakatan Rakyat supporters is expected at the courthouse tomorrow. Nizar cautioned them against provoking the authorities.
A team of 12 lawyers will represent Nizar, said Perak DAP chief and senior executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, who was also at the press conference.
Asked if the case was being filed in Kuala Lumpur because Pakatan Rakyat feared external influence on the Ipoh High Court, Ngeh said there might be a conflict of interest.
He noted, for example, that the most senior judge in Ipoh witnessed the swearing in of the BN excos before the Sultan.
Nizar described his chances of winning the suit as “very, very strong”.
“There was a survey which said 97% of Perakians want us back. I have not met any single Perakian, particularly from the Indian and Chinese communities, who say otherwise,” he said, but did not elaborate on which survey he was referring to.
“We’ll ride our motorbikes”
On returning the official state cars, Nizar said all 11 Toyota Camry would be deposited at the MB’s residence by 14 Feb instead of the state secretariat building because “the residence belongs to the rakyat”.
Two Camrys already at the MB’s residence
He said the state secretary had already written to request that the cars be returned.
“We will use public transport or our motorbikes. We want the cars to be kept here in the residence until after the High Court disposes of the case. If BN wants to take the cars after 14 Feb, that’s up to them,” Nizar said.
The Pakatan Rakyat government also plans to attend Sultan Azlan Shah’s silver jubilee celebrations at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar on 14 Feb.
“It’s Valentine’s Day, so let us all love each other,” Nizar quipped. He said the palace had sent him and the excos invitations some time ago, and they had already confirmed their attendance.
The celebration will also be attended by the royal heads of other states, and dignitaries from other countries.
On a text message circulating which has called for people to demonstrate at the silver jubilee event, Nizar said Pakatan Rakyat was not the one organising it.
“If people take part, that’s their right, but we did not participate in mobilising them,” he said.
When PR takes over in the next GE, Nizar should be in the cabinet.