Friday, March 14, 2008

:: Perak: Signatures agreeing

NST Online » Frontpage2008/03/13

Raja Nazrin orders 31 coalition signatures agreeing to cooperate, Nizar as MBBy : M. Husairy Othman

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The Regent of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah, dismayed at the squabbling over the formation of the DAP-PKR-Pas coalition state government, has postponed the swearing-in of Pas’ Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak Mentri Besar until the three parties get their act together.

In a meeting with Nizar and the other two MB nominees, Ngeh Koo Ham of the DAP and PKR’s Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi at Istana Kinta in Ipoh, Raja Nazrin instructed them to collect the signatures of all 31 assemblymen under the coalition to state that they:
n agree to work together and cooperate under the coalition government; and,
n also agree to Nizar as the collective choice as Mentri Besar.

The meeting at Istana Kinta unfolded at 2.30pm while VIPs were arriving as the swearing-in at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar. By 4.45pm, after Raja Nazrin issued his instruction, all guests left Istana Iskandariah after receiving word that the swearing-in was indefinitely postponed.

Although Nizar’s appointment provoked a disapproving outburst from DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang yesterday, the palace insisted that Nizar was the apt choice, given that the coalition had given their three names for the Sultan of Perak to make the selection. Lim had earlier instructed all the 18 DAP state assemblymen in Perak to stay away from the ceremony as he did not agree to the selection of the PAS representative as the Menteri Besar. Lim later apologised and retracted his statement.

Haggling on who should be in the Exco compelled more negotiations into late afternoon. In a statement revealing Raja Nazrin’s instruction, Ngeh denied that the postponement was due to the PKR's threat to pull out of the coalition because they didn't get their Exco seat allocation.
Later, the postponement was announced by Comptroller of the Royal Household at the Istana Iskandariah, Datuk Seri Raja Mansor Raja Razman.

Meanwhile, Istana Kinta said in a statement to Bernama that the postponement was in view of the latest development that showed that the DAP, PKR and PAS had not reached a strong consensus in forming the coalition government. The statement, signed by the Private Secretary to the Sultan of Perak, Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohamad Nor, said Raja Dr Nazrin Shah had ordered that the swearing-in ceremony be postponed.
“In the light of recent developments, it appears to his Royal Highness The Regent of Perak Darul Ridzwan, that there are some uncertainties as to whether the three parties, DAP, PKR, PAS are able to work together to form a coalition, and form a stable government. As a consequence, His Royal Highness The Regent of Perak Darul Ridzwan has directed that the appointment and swearing in ceremony of the Menteri Besar scheduled for this afternoon be postponed.” However, the statement did not indicate when the ceremony would be held.

Meanwhile, Umno supreme Council member Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants all political parties in Perak to respect the decision by Istana Iskandariah to defer the swearing-in of the Menteri Besar.
“The decision to postpone the swearing-in must be respected by all political parties in Perak as the sultan is fully aware of the squabbling among DAP, PKR. The bickering can harm the palace’s credibility as an independent institution in the country’s political system of governance to maintain peace and harmony in the state,” he said in a statement today.

The Bagan Datoh MP said showing disrespect to the institution of royalty by the incoming coalition government in Perak could spark trouble if the situation was not handled carefully by the palace.

Here is the blow-by-blow account on the drama as it unfolded today:

11.42am: The DAP apologises for its statement yesterday that the party’s CEC protested the appointment of Perak Pas secretary Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Menteri Besar

2.16pm: Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham announces that representatives from all political parties in the Perak coalition government will attend Nizar’s swearing-in

2.30pm: Nizar, Ngeh and Jamaluddin in a meeting with Perak Regent Raja Nazrin Shah, presumably about the confusion on who should have been Mentri Besar and also the line-up for the State Exco

2.45pm: PKR issues a statement saying it won't take part in the administration if the Exco composition is not reconsidered though it accepts the decision to appoint Nizar as Mentri Besar

3:05pm: Ngeh clarifies in a statement the confusion behind the appointment of the new Perak Menteri Besar but gave the assurance that the new coalition state government would stay united and agree to a collective leadership.

3.30pm: The Raja di-Hilir arrives at the Istana Iskandariah. Police have cordoned the area. No one is allowed into the compound. Only Bernama and RTM is permitted to cover the swearing in while other members of the media have to sweat it out outside the palace while waiting for developments. A crowd of 100 has gathered at the roundabout outside the Istana Iskandariah

3.55pm: Nizar, Ngeh and Jamaluddin leave Istana Kinta but refuse to speak to the media. It is assumed that they are going to Istana Iskandariah

4:15pm: The media has got word that the swearing-in may be postponed till tomorrow but no official confirmation has been given.

4.45pm: The swearing-in has been definitely postponed till tomorrow due to haggling over the Exco line-up. DAP, PKR and Pas cannot agree on the composition after DAP, after conceding the MB's post to Pas, is now demanding a lion's share of the Exco seats. Both DAP and PKR state leaders have retreated to their respective headquarters in Ipoh to deliberate on the issue.

4.55pm: Ngeh issues statement that Raja Nazri has instructed the coalition to collect the signatures of all 31 DAP-PKR-Pas assemblymen agreeing to work together under a coalition government and that Nizar is the collective choice as Mentri Besar. Ngeh also denies that postponement is due to PKR's threat to pull out of the coalition because they didn't get their Exco seat allocation

5.10pm: Tajol Rosli and Raja di-Hilir and their wives leave Istana Iskandariah. The media also calls it a day.