Thursday, 5 February 2009

Sultan agrees to 'unity' gov't led by BN? -Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini LIVE REPORTS

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11.00pm: Ceramah ends peacefully following a prayer session. Mohd Nizar was the only top brass to speak. Other key figures present like Anwar, Hadi, Kit Siang and Guan Eng did not address the crowd, estimated at about 6,000, who were requested to disperse peacefully. They were told to attend Friday prayers at Ubudiah Mosque in Kuala Kangsar tomorrow.

10.45pm: MB Mohd Nizar say Pakatan will boycott swearing in of BN reps tomorrow although they have been invited. He continues, "We will never recognise this illegal BN government. We will create a wave of protest throughout the state and fight together with the people of Perak to the last drop of our blood."

10.40pm: About 1,000 people are on the street between Sam Tet School and the MB's residence, reducing four lanes to one.

10.32pm: Announcement was made that electricity supply to the MB's residence may be disconnected. If that should happen, the crowd was advised to stay calm.

10.30pm: Motorists passing by the MB's residence honk in support. Inside, speeches are punctuated by shouts of Reformasi and Hancur BN. Crowd continue to swell. Many line up the street outside MB's residence.

10.20pm: Crowd growing. Police are not preventing people from entering the MB's residence. The hall where the ceramah is held is packedwith many standing outside to listen to the speeches from Pakatan leaders. Crowd estimated at 4,000 now. FRU troop now seen patrolling outside the MB's residence.

10pm: Ceramah is going on in the MB's residence. About 3,000 people are said to be in attendance listening attentively on the sprawling ground of the official residence. Crowd appear orderly. Situation is calm and peaceful. Only about 50 policemen present. Pakatan bigwigs yet to take to the stage.

9.30pm: Mohd Nizar says he still has hope of getting an audience with the sultan. But he needs nothing short of a miracle as the window to meet the sultan is closing. BN's 28 state reps and three independents will be sworn before the sultan tomorrow.

Mohd Nizar also reveals that he had requested Anwar Ibrahim to file an emergency motion on the Perak political crisis during the next sitting of Parliament.

"This is now a national issue. Everybody wants to know about it so let it be discussed," he says.

Mohd Nizar reiterates that Barisan was grabbing power in the statewithout following through the proper process.

"When the assembly sits in April, they can have a vote of no-confidence. Then there would be a smooth transition," he says.

8.45pm: Five FRU police trucks arrive creating some tension among those gathered outside the MB's residence. The crowd shouted at the riot police, while PAS security team closes the gate to the MB's residence. However, the police made no attempt to enter the residence.

8.15pm: Among the crowd seen outside the MB's residence are former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim and popular blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

7.50pm: About 1,000 Pakatan supporters are gathering outside MB's official residence. More are streaming in, creating a traffic jam in the area.

Despite warnings of tough action, police presence is minimal apart from traffic cops helping to ease congestion. The MB's residence has been sealed off by the PAS security team, Unit Amal. With the state government headquarters taken over by police this afternoon, there is fear that Mohd Nizar could be evicted from his official residence.

Many in the crowd are spotted holding umbrellas as there is a light drizzle. Banners at the gathering called for the dissolution of the state assembly as well as the return of power to the people. Pakatan top guns, including Anwar Ibrahim, are due to speak later tonight.

6.45pm: Pakatan supporters have been

6.45pm: Pakatan supporters have been told to gather at the Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar's official residence after gates to the Ipoh Stadium were found to be locked

6.15pm: PM Abdullah was seen leaving Istana Kinta. According to the latest information, the new BN-led state government is expected to be sworn in by Sultan Azlan Shah tomorrow.

5.50pm: PM Abdullah arrives at Istana Kinta. He joins Najib and all 28 BN state representatives as well as the three Independents. They will be sworn in by Sultan Azlan Shah to take over the state government.

4.58pm: A new BN government is expected to be sworn in today. Bernama reported that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the state BN representatives have arrived at Istana Kinta.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is on an official visit to the state, is also expected to be present at the palace any time now.

4.53pm: The police have taken over the state secretariat building. All Pakatan officials in the complex are told to pack up and leave by 5pm.

4.50pm: Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim said that they want to meet the sultan to convince him to dissolve the assembly.

4.45pm: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said that the Pakatan leadership fully backed Mohd Nizar's government. He added that the menteri besar will not resign unless a special state assembly session was called or fresh elections held.

4.40pm: Mohd Nizar tells the press conference that he would not resign from his post as the menteri besar. He urged the people to back his Pakatan government.

He also said that the assembly speaker had filed a suit on the validity of the resignation letters submitted by three former Pakatan state representatives and said that it was only wise to wait for the court to decide on the matter.

"The BN's majority may not be a valid one," he said.

4.15pm: A source inside the Pakatan meeting at the MB's residence say that the atmosphere inside is sombre. Anwar is chairing the meeting, with everyone is being allowed to have a say.

4.14pm: Unconfirmed reports state that former DAP state assemblyperson Hee Yit Foong's house in Ipoh and her service centre in Jelapang have been pelted with stones by people angry with her defection.

4.10pm: Roads leading to the state secretariat have been blocked by the police to stop people from gathering there.

4.05pm: State secretary Abdul Rahman Hashim instructs Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar and all exco members to vacate their offices at the state secretariat by 5pm today.

They have been reminded not to take any official documents with them. They were also told to hand in their official car keys as well as the keys to their offices.

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3.25pm: It learnt that Mohd Nizar will announce his refusal to resign as asked by the sultan.

3.20pm All top leaders from Pakatan are presently in a meeting at Mohd Nizar's official residence on their next course of action. A press conference is expected to be held soon.

About 30 supporters have gathered outside the residence. A big team of journalists number about 50 are also waiting there.

3pm: The office of the Sultan of Perak, in a statement (Read the statement here), said that after meeting all the 28 BN assemblypersons and the three independents, the sultan was convinced that Mohd Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the state assembly members.

2.27pm: Bernama reports that the Sultan of Perak has rejected the request by Mohd Nizar for the dissolution of the state assembly. The report also said that the sultan has asked Mohd Nizar to step down. If Nizar fails to do so, the post would be considered as vacant. (Read here).

2.14pm: Tonight's 100,000 people gathering in support of the Pakatan government has been shifted to Stadium Ipoh from the menteri besar's official residence.

The police have issued warnings against those who take part in "illegal gatherings" in Ipoh.

2pm: Anwar arrives at Mohd Nizar's house. He is expected to hold a press conference together the menteri besar and Penang CM Lim Guan Eng at 3pm. PKR vice-president Azmin Ali is also there.

1.32pm: PKR source says that the sultan had asked Mohd Nizar to step down as menteri besar to allow a smooth transistion of power at their brief meeting today but the latter had refused to do so.

1.30pm: Najib just ended his Perak Umno meeting and left the party's state headquarters without calling a press conference. It is learnt there was a discussion on who to be appointed as new menteri besar

1.25pm: Najib is still at the Umno meeting. However it is learnt that he will not be holding a press conference after the meeting.

1.05pm: Perak MB Mohd Nizar leaves the palace. He waved and smiled at reporters. He just said: "Good signs. Alhamdulliah." His meeting with the sultan lasted 15 minutes. He had entered the palace at 12.50pm.

Mohd Nizar will be holding a press conference along with Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP leader Lim Guan Eng at 3pm.

12.50pm: Najib is presently chairing an Umno meeting in Ipoh where the choice of the new menteri besar is being discussed. He is expected to call for a press conference within the next hour.

12.40pm: There is an indication that Sultan Azlan Shah will allow Barisan Nasional to form a state government with the participation of three independents.

It is learnt that the sultan met with the four defectors at Istana Kinta this morning.

The four had accompanied Najib to the palace during the deputy prime minister's second visit to see the sultan. BN's 28 state representatives were also present.

At a brief press conference later, Najib said that all BN state assemblypersons and three Independents have given their undertaking to the sultan that they will back a Barisan-led government.

"As such, we will leave it to the sultan to make his decision and we shall respect his decision,” he said.

When asked who would be BN’s choice for MB, Najib said that they would first wait for the sultan’s decision.

Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar is still in a meeting with sultan.

Earlier today

Sultan Azlan Shah met with Perak BN chief Najib Abdul Razak at the Istana Kinta in Ipoh this morning, and this was to be followed by another meeting with Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin.

Najib has informed the sultan of BN's strength in numbers in the state assembly that will allow the coalition to take over the control of the state from Pakatan Rakyat.

On the other hand, Mohd Nizar is advising the sultan to dissolve the state assembly to pave way for fresh elections in the state to resolve the political impasse.

Also present at the meeting with the deputy prime minister is Perak Umno deputy chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Najib and Ahmad Zahid arrived at the palace at 9.50am.

He left at 10.35am and returned about 20 minutes later with four former Pakatan assemblypersons who had pledged support for BN. The party left at 11.30am.

Meanwhile, Mohd Nizar is currently on his way to meet with the sultan. He left Bagan Serai at 11.30am where he was attending a function officiated by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He told journalists there that he had been summoned by the sultan.

After the meeting with the sultan, Najib, who is also the Perak Umno chief, will be chairing a state Umno meeting. Top on the agenda would the choice of menteri besar to lead the BN government.

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