Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Sun Front Page (5/2)

300,000 COPIES DAILY 30 SEN for delivery to your doorstep Member of Audit Bureau of Circulations (Malaysia) Award winning newspaper for public service reporting and opinion writing. No. 4691 PP 2644/12/2009 (023092) Thursday February 5, 2009 TELLING IT AS IT IS BERNAMAPIX Dogged by objections » Ong and Chua pals again pg4 » Breast cancer: Rising fear factor pg12-13 INTERVIEWS VIEWS pg20 POLITICAL TURMOIL IN PERAK Jan 25: Umno’s Bota assemblyman Nasarudin Hashim joins PKR. Jan 28: PKR assemblymen and state executive councillors Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) go missing. Feb 1: DAP’s Jelapang assemblyman and State Assembly Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong “disappears”. Support for BN ... Perak govt falls by Maria J. Dass Najib with (from left) Nasarudin, Mohd Osman, Hee and Jamaluddin at his office in Putrajaya yesterday after announcing that the BN had the mandate to form the next Perak state government. Monday: State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar informs Perak Election Commission that Changkat Jering and Behrang are vacant and submits Osman and Jamaluddin’s resignation letters. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has a 30-minute audience with Sultan Azlan Shah. Tuesday: Election Commission rules that Osman and Jamaluddin remain as elected representatives because of doubts over their resignation letters. UTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak yesterday announced that Barisan Nasional now has the mandate to take over the Perak government from Pakatan Rakyat (PR), with the return of Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim to Umno and the support of three former PR assemblymen who quit their parties to become independents. Speaking at a short press conference at his office, he said: “BN Perak has the majority assemblymen in the state when three assemblymen, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Kapt Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) informed me that they have each sent letters to Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah to inform him they have left their respective parties.” Jamaluddin and Osman won their seats on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) tickets while Hee won Jelapang as a DAP candidate and made history as the first woman deputy state legislative speaker. “Today (Tuesday) Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim P » NAJIB: BN HAS MANDATE TO FORM GOVT » BOTA REP RETURNS TO UMNO » TWO EXCO MEN QUIT PKR TO BE INDEPENDENTS » DEPUTY SPEAKER HEE QUITS DAP TO BE INDEPENDENT » ALL TO BACK BN also met me to say that he wants to rejoin Umno,” Najib said. All four assemblymen were with Najib at the press conference. Nasarudin had defected to PKR on Jan 25, causing a furore in Perak Umno that ended with Najib taking over as state Umno liaison and BN chief from former mentri besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli. This means the BN and PR both have 28 seats. Asked how this would work out as both have an equal number of seats in the 59seat assembly, he said: “The three independents have pledged their support for the BN; so we have 31 seats against 28.” Najib denied that the three assemblymen were bought over. “The trio (Jamaluddin, Hee and Osman) have also given me the mandate to nominate the new mentri besar,” he said. All four assemblymen (including Nasarudin) have informed the state assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar that they are no longer members of the respective parties. Asked why BN was willing to be associated with Jamaluddin and Osman who have been tainted by corruption charges, Najib replied: “We have no problem, that is a separate issue.” He said Perak law stated that a mentri besar who had lost the confidence of the majority had to relinquish his position together with his executive council members. “We will be meeting the Sultan to inform him that BN now has the majority.” Asked what would happen if the Sultan dissolved the assembly to allow fresh elections as requested by the PR government yesterday, Najib said: “That is entirely the prerogative of the Sultan.” Speaking of the PR, he said: “They probably did not expect this, but they wanted to form the government without following the due democratic process – so don’t blame the BN. “Everything is the will of God, we are thankful for this. We did not start this, but somebody wanted to form the government on Sept 16,” he said, alluding to Anwar’s much-hyped boast to take over the federal government. On a statement by mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin that Nasarudin’s wife had claimed that her husband had been “kidnapped”, both Najib and Nasarudin denied the claim. Nasarudin said: “With consciousness and a sense of responsibility, I have rejoined Umno and BN as of today. This is after listening to views and advice from political friends and individuals who want to see stability and a strong government in Perak. The present tumultuous political climate in the state has resulted in a weak government. I have also taken into account and respect the voters of Bota and democratic principles.” Yesterday Morning: Hee quits DAP to become an Independent assemblyman. Afternoon: PKR’s new representative Nasarudin now goes missing. 4pm: Nizar heads to Istana Kinta to have an audience with Sultan Azlan Shah. 4.30pm: Jamaluddin, Osman and Hee are seen in Deputy Prime Minister and Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s office in Putrajaya. 5.10pm: Najib announces that the BN has the support of the four former PR assemblymen – three “BN-friendly” Independents and Nasarudin rejoining Umno. Najib says he will seek an audience with Sultan Azlan as soon as possible. 5.45pm: Nizar leaves the palace after audience with Sultan Azlan to request that the state assembly be dissolved. Note: With the changes in the political alliances of the four assemblymen, both BN and PR have 28 assemblymen each, with three pro-BN Independents in the 59-seat State Assembly. Sultan has two options – BN govt or fresh elections by Humayun Kabir IPOH: The solution to Perak’s political impasse now lies with Sultan Azlan Shah who has two options: » Allow the Barisan Nasional, which has majority support (31 assemblymen vs 28 for the Pakatan Rakyat) in the 59-seat Legislative Assembly, to form a new government; or » Grant Mentri Besar Datuk Sri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s request to dissolve the state assembly and get a fresh mandate from voters. The latest episode of the 11-dayold political drama in the Silver State started at 3pm yesterday when Nizar announced to a packed press conference at his office that three PR assemblymen – Behrang’s Jamaludin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering’s Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (of PKR) and Jelapang’s Hee Yit Foong (DAP) – had resigned from their respective parties and were now independents. There was an added intrigue when during the press conference Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim’s wife rang up Nizar and alleged that her husband had been “kidnapped” from his home and taken to Kuala Lumpur on the pretext of meeting the Perak Raja Muda. Nizar blamed Umno for playing “dirty politics” to destabilise the 11month-old PR government. Last night, speaking to reporters after attending PAS’s emergency meeting at the party headquarters and after an audience with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, earlier in the day, Nizar said he was confident the Ruler would make a fair and just decision to resolve the state’s political crisis. “I have no doubt that the decision will be fair to all ... to the people and to the political parties.” Nizar, who sought the Sultan’s consent after announcing the dissolution of the state assembly early in the day, said the Sultan did not convey any decision whether he would grant consent, Bernama reports. “He said he needed time to look into the matter. I will abide and accept whatever the decision,” he said. He said the audience went well and that he had briefed the Sultan on the latest political development and also conveyed his request for the consent. He said that since the Sultan had not made any decisions, “I will continue to run the state’s administration together with other PR assemblymen.” “I will be working as usual,” he said, adding that it was better to hold a snap election to resolve the political impasse once and for all. Should the Sultan decide not to grant consent, he said, the PR government could still function as a caretaker government. » More stories on pages 2 and 4