By Lee Wei Lian and Shannon Teoh
Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin thanking policemen blocking his way for doing their job. – Pic by Choo Choy May
IPOH, Feb 10 – As the Barisan Nasional (BN) carried on with the formalities of taking over the state government today with the swearing-in of six new executive councillors, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) continued fighting its increasingly futile claim to power.
Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin led his state executive council members from PR in what was definitely a symbolic gesture to report for work as usual at their offices in the state secretariat here.
In their way were more than 50 riot police officers. Behind them a small band of supporters, mainly from Pas, backed by shouts of “Allahuakbar”.
“Usually, on Tuesday, we meet investors but as we were blocked we are backing off and we thank all enforcement agencies for doing their job.
“We will do our work from the residence and try to rearrange our appointments to meet there,” he told reporters.
Nizar has so far refused to resign as mentri besar in what has become a drawn-out political crisis that is consuming the resources of both BN and PR.
Sultan Azlan Shah had refused Nizar’s request to dissolve the state assembly and pave the way for fresh elections to solve the political impasse caused by defections.
The ruler instead decided to invite BN’s Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir to form a new government.
Nizar and PR maintain that the BN government is illegal as the Sultan has no constitutional right to dismiss him as MB.
The ruler’s decision has come under considerable criticism, and has sparked a constitutional crisis over the role of rulers in politics.
This culminated in a mass protest last Friday when thousands of demonstrator clashed with riot police outside the Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar where the Sultan was swearing-in Zambry.
Concerns over security has caused Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and even the Sultan to cancel public appearances.
Today, six BN assemblymen were sworn-in as new state executive councilors in Kuala Kangsar amid tight security. There were no sign of protestors with most roads leading to the palace closed off.
The six new assemblymen are Hamidah Osman, Datuk Ramly Zahari, Dr Mah Hang Soon, Datuk Saarani Mohamed, Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid and Zainol Fadzi Paharudin.
Three other positions are being kept in reserve, and are likely to be filled by independent Hee Yit Foong, and possible defectors from the PR ranks.