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Perak Pakatan Government's fate hangs by a thread called the EC - malaysiakini

Malaysian Insider's report:

IPOH, Feb 3 — While the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government pins its hopes on the Election Commission to declare by-elections in two state constituencies, the two renegade PKR assemblymen at the heart of the state's high-stakes political drama are expected to make legal challenges to ensure they remain as legislators.

If the EC decides to hold by-elections, the PR government will not have to deal with potential defectors in its ranks even as it tries to fight off challenges from the opposition Barisan Nasional.

A day after state assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar announced the resignation of Jamaluddin Radzi and Osman Jailu amid speculation that they were both ready to join Umno, the duo emerged from hiding through their representatives to deny that they have tendered their resignation, pledging their loyalty to PKR.

At issue now is whether the EC will accept Sivakumar's decision.

The speaker claimed to have received the purported resignation letters on Sunday evening.

The PKR duo are likely to challenge the validity of the letters, said to have been signed just after the general election last year.

Last night, at a hastily-called press conference, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin made a last-minute attempt to pressure the EC to accept the vacancy of the two state seats by saying he has the support of the palace for by-elections to be called.

For almost a day yesterday, Nizar had been evading the press, in a sign that the Pakatan Rakyat-led government was unsure of the next move after the Behrang and Changkat Jering reps challenged the speaker's announcement.

The closest the PR got to being on the offensive yesterday was when a PKR division leader called a press conference in the morning just to accuse Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the man behind the disappearance of Jamaluddin and Osman.

Interestingly, the revelation, through yet another statutory declaration, was not sanctioned by the party as PKR officials at the beginning of the press conference repeatedly said that Ipoh Barat division chief Fauzi Muda was making the statement as an individual.

The declaration however was uploaded to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's blog.

"We are not losing, we expect victory through the Election Commission's announcement," said Pas lawmaker Husin Din on the government's silence since the speaker's declaration.

The Selinsing assemblyman believes that the state's ruling coalition had scored a goal when the PKR duo did not turn up at their own press conferences yesterday.

Interestingly, opposition leader Anwar, who played a crucial role in preventing three-cornered fights in the state in the general election last year, has been relatively silent on the issue.

The Permatang Pauh MP, in a brief blog posting yesterday, accused Najib of being involved in the planned defections.

And for Umno, which lost an assemblyman on the eve of the Lunar New Year with the defection of Bota rep Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim to PKR, the consensus among its leaders was that the fiasco has nothing to do with the Malay nationalist party.

Just last week the state opposition was on the verge of losing more representatives with the menteri besar declaring that the government was expecting three more Umno assemblymen to cross over.

But the latest political drama has provided Umno with a temporary morale boost and even the prospect of by-elections did not seem to worry the party leaders, as it successfully distanced itself from the turmoil.

"It was not triggered by us in the first place. When one of us crossed over, they said it was morally right, but when we talked about their men crossing over, they said it is immoral," Umno's Datuk Zambry Kadir told The Malaysian Insider.

Malaysiakini's report when out.