Jan 30, 2009 By : Jaspal Singh
IPOH: Are the two Pakatan Rakyat state executive councillors who were charged with corruption last year defecting to Barisan Nasional soon?
Even as Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin attempted to quash such speculation yesterday, the rumour mill had it that something was amiss in the ranks of the state Pakatan.
It is understood that the two had been incommunicado for at least three days -- even top state Pakatan officials were unable to contact them.
Observers said this fuelled speculation that Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu from Parti Keadilan Rakyat were "in the midst of negotiations" with Perak Umno.
Nizar told reporters he had spoken to the two yesterday and that they were firmly behind Pakatan.
"Speculation that they are thinking of leaving Pakatan is entirely untrue. They are not jumping over to BN. The state government is solid," he said at his official residence here.
Jamaluddin and Osman were charged last August with soliciting gratification to help a third party secure land for a housing development project.
Reporters had gathered outside Nizar's residence about 9am after being told that nine top officials from Pakatan were holding a high-powered meeting with the menteri besar to discuss the status of the two exco members.
Other leaders who attended the meeting dismissed the notion that the meeting, which ended at 11am, had anything to do with Jamaluddin and Osman.
Senior state exco and Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the meeting was a regular monthly one between Pakatan state leaders on issues which included relations among the three component parties.
"Let me hear about it from the exco members themselves."
However, two state exco members, who did not attend the meeting, expressed concern over reports that Jamaluddin and Osman might defect to BN.
Besides Nizar and Ngeh, others who attended the meeting included state Local Government Affairs Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming, Ipoh Barat member of parliament M. Kulasegaran, Perak Pas commissioner Ustaz Ahmad Awang and his deputy, Asmuni Awi, and PKR's national vice-president Lee Boon Chye.
In Seremban, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has refuted claims that there will be defections involving Barisan Nasional assemblymen in Negri Sembilan.
"If it is true, give us the names... Why should the Perak DAP be concerned about it?
"Why not just look after Perak?" he told Bernama.
Mohamad, who is the state BN chairman, was asked to comment on claims by Perak DAP, as reported in the Chinese press, that there would be defections among assemblymen in Negri Sembilan.
Mohamad said BN assemblymen were loyal and committed to the party.
He admitted, however, that individuals from the opposition parties had approached BN assemblymen to persuade them to switch sides.