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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

> BN rebels to oust Terengganu MB

More than half of Barisan Nasional backbenchers did not turn up at Terengganu state assembly sitting today in a move related to their bid to oust Menteri Besar Ahmad Said.

Ten of the 24 BN representatives in the state assembly were said to have "boycotted" the second day of the sitting as plans are being made to force Ahmad to step down.

To make things worse, another three are likely to join in, cutting thin the support Ahmad Said (photo) enjoyed in the assembly. 

It is believed that the failure of the 10 state representatives to be present at the assembly was linked to ‘death threats’ which some of them had received yesterday.

Late last night, three assemblypersons have lodged a police report saying that they received a SMS warning them against moving a motion of no-confidence against the MB.

Paka assemblyperson Zakaria Abdullah, Abdul Halim Jusoh (Permaisuri) and Rosol Wahid (Ajil) lodged their police reports shortly after midnight following the SMS ‘death threats’.

According to Bernama, Abdul Halim said they received the SMS at about 11.20 last night from an individual believed to be a government official.

They were warned not to proceed with their plan to oust the MB.

"As a senior state government official, he should not threaten anyone, what more a state assemblyman like me. You cannot make threats on people's lives... I don't know why I was targeted," he said.

Of the 32 seats in the state assembly, BN controls 24 while opposition has eight seats.

Guarantee over safety sought

When contacted, Rosol - perceived by many as the ring leader - said that the representatives were taking refuge in different areas out of fear for their lives.

Rosol however denied speculations that their absence was a move to oust the menteri besar.

It is also understood that several representatives were on their way to Putrajaya to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to shed light on the recent upheavals.

And in a press conference held later in the morning, Rosol said the 10 state representatives will continue to boycott the state assembly sitting unless their safety was guaranteed.

"We will attend the last day of sitting tomorrow if the police can assure us of our safety," he said.

The 10 missing state representatives were:

Rosol Wahid (Ajil), Din Adam (Bukit Besi); Alias Abdullah (Alur Limbat); Zawawi Ismail (Kuala Berang); Abd Halim Jusoh (Permaisuri); Ramlan Ali (Jabi); Zakaria @ Mohd Ariffin Abdullah (Paka); Muhammad Ramli Nuh (Tepuh); Muhammad Pehimi Yusof (Kota Putera); Wan Abdul Hakim Wan Mokhtar (Air Putih).

Rosol also said that they had the support of three other BN representatives, who he claimed was also absent from the assembly sitting today. Their identities and whereabouts are unknown.

Meanwhile, the assembly speaker Tengku Putera Awang informed the assembly this morning that he did not know why so many of the BN representatives were absent today.

"When I entered the assembly this morning, I saw that many chairs were empty. I will ask them later," he said in response to a question from PAS representative Tengku Hassan Omar (Ladang).

Umno divided

Ahmad had on Saturday warned those who attempt to table a motion of no-confidence against him would face disciplinary action, including expulsion from the party.

Ruling party Umno is deeply split on the issue of who should be the state menteri besar.

Former MB Idris Jusoh was the then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s choice but this was opposed by Terengganu palace headed by King Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.

The Terengganu sultan has backed Ahmad to helm the state and after a brief stand-off, Abdullah relented.

During this tense period, Rosol played a vital role in objecting the move by the Terengganu palace to replace Idris with Ahmad.

Rosol, who is a strong ally of Idris and a former state exco, canvassed large support among the BN elected representatives and the people to move the palace in reappointing Idris.

However he and the other BN representatives closed ranks following a series of talks with Abdullah and accepted Ahmad as the new MB. 

He was not picked up to be a state exco and was made the Terengganu assembly backbenchers' club president - Malaysiakini.