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Published: Wednesday February 4, 2009 MYT 1:16:00 PMUpdated: Wednesday February 4, 2009 MYT 8:00:39 PM
PUTRAJAYA: Barisan Nasional said it commands the majority needed to form the government in Perak while Pakatan Rakyat persisted in its attempts to dissolve the state assembly and call for fresh elections to stave off a Barisan take-over.
At a press conference here Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he would be seeking an audience with Sultan Azlan Shah in a day or two to inform him of Barisan’s ability to form the new state government.
Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim, who had quit Umno to join PKR less than two weeks ago, has returned to the dominant Barisan component party.
PKR’s Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu have also quit their parties, as did DAP’s Jelapang assemblyman and Perak state assembly deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong.
All three said they would remain Barisan-friendly Independents for now.
“The situation in the state is critical. I have to make sacrifices,” Nasarudin said, when asked why he had decided to rejoin Umno.
Jamaluddin, Mohd Osman and Hee did not speak to reporters (see statements below).
But Najib said the three had informed the Sultan in a letter sent Tuesday that they had quit their parties.
The three Independents support Barisan, Najib said.
All four assemblymen appeared at the press conference with Najib.
Barisan and Pakatan now have 28 seats each in the 59-seat assembly.
It was a turnaround from less than two weeks ago when Pakatan heralded the defection of Nasaruddin, which strengthened the tenuous hold Pakatan has had on the state since the general election last March, increasing its share to 32 seats.
Talk was rife of more defections from both Pakatan and Barisan.
Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman then went “missing” and stayed incommunicado for nearly a week, leading to speculation that both were jumping ship.
When they finally resurfaced, it was to announce they were quitting PKR but remaining as Independents.
The two were charged in a Sessions Court on Aug 25 last year with allegedly receiving bribes over the application for a RM180mil housing project in Sri Iskandar in Perak Tengah. Their case comes up for hearing on Feb 10.
The fourth player was Hee, who last Sunday denied she was quitting DAP. She, however, handed her resignation letter to Perak state assembly speaker V. Sivakumar at 8:10am Wednesday.
In IPOH, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin made a last-ditch attempt to save his 10-month-old government from collapse.
He had sought an audience with the Sultan of Perak and scheduled a press conference for 1pm, where it was expected he would announce he had been granted permission to dissolve the state assembly and call for fresh elections.
Instead, he was finally granted an audience at 4pm, while Najib was holding his press conference.
Mohd Nizar, upon leaving Istana Kinta at about 5.45pm, told reporters that it was up to the Sultan to choose to dissolve the state assembly or not.
Just a day ago, he had reiterated he would not be calling for state elections given the political developments of the past week but was prepared for any by-election.
Observers said that with a three-seat majority, and more defections likely, the Sultan looks likely to accept Barisan’s offer to form the next government.
Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim
"After taking into consideration the advice and views of my political partners and those who would like to see a stable political situation and government in Perak, I, with my conscience and responsibility, return to Umno and the Barisan Nasional from today.
"I have made such a decision with respect to my constituents and the principle of democracy after considering the unstable and confusing political situation in Perak, which created a shaky state government."
Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu
"I am very disappointed with the way I was treated. Even before I submitted my resignation, I was “fired” without anyone discussing anything with me.
"It was only yesterday that I decided to become an Independent. If the Pakatan Rakyat does not want me anymore, I have no choice but to become an Independent.
"I have no plans yet to join Barisan Nasional but decided to become a friendly Independent candidate. I will serve my constituency wholeheartedly without being affiliated to any party."
Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi
"I have no plans to join any party but there was as if a force had chased me out of PKR and that is why I decided to become an Independent.
"I have not thought about what will happen and I am shocked with what was done to me. I have been chased out by the Pakatan Rakyat and after being chased out by people, I just went to look for a new home."
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