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Sunday, February 8, 2009

> Welcome to state with two MB's

Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin appears determined to show up what Pakatan Rakyat contends is an illegitimate Barisan Nasional government that was sworn-in by Sultan Azlan Shah yesterday.

He is also determined to claim as legitimate his administration — today the embattled Nizar, called a traitor and a sore loser by Umno and BN leaders, chaired a meeting of his state executive councillors.

The meeting was held at the official menteri besar's residence next the city's landmark fountained roundabout, a short one-minute drive from Istana Kinta, the Ipoh palace of Sultan Azlan Shah.

Earlier this week, Sultan Azlan Shah asked for Nizar's resignation, to which the latter refused. The Ruler then declared the menteri besar's post vacant and promptly swore in Umno's Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new menteri besar.

Today's meeting is in line with Nizar's contention that he had not been sacked as MB, as PR leaders contend a state Ruler does not have the power to dismiss because such powers lie only with the state legislature through a vote of no confidence.

It is also meant to shore up his arguments in what is now a roiling constitutional debate, and will likely be part of his legal case when the political impasse ends up in the courts, in a situation which is looking likely.

Nizar has now turned the official menteri besar's residence into his "seat of government," with party supporters guarding the compound while policemen watch on from outside.

So far, neither the new state government nor the police have indicated they intend to forcefully evict him.

At a press conference after the meeting, Nizar announced several policies that his administration had approved, including the extension of leasehold industrial land from 30 or 60 years to 99 years, in an attempt to boost investors' confidence in the state.

When asked how the outcome of today's meeting would be implemented without the cooperation of the state secretariat, Nizar said the issue does not arise as all the government agencies have to adhere to the decision made by the government.

Yesterday, when Nizar was at the state secretariat, he found his office emptied out and his files missing. He was then escorted out by the state secretary and policemen.

At today's press conference, Nizar explained that it was not necessary for the menteri besar to meet the Ruler every time before an executive council meeting.

"It is just by convention, but it is okay not to meet before the meeting," said Nizar.

He added his administration was still legitimate, and he would continue to report to work until a decision is made by the courts, as he plans to file a suit to challenge the newly appointed government on Tuesday.

"I always turn up to office very early, so we'll see who will be there first," he quipped - The Malaysian Insider.