By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin has rubbished his successor’s claims of being offered the Perak Mentri Besar’s post first by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) shortly after Election 2008, saying it was an attempt to hide problems in Umno.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr. Zambry Abd Kadir’s made the “revelation” in the Perak State Assembly yesterday (picture) that he had been “approached” by a top PKR leader to defect but had declined.
“He had to reassure Umno leaders in Perak that he was the rightful mentri besar. He wants to reaffirm with Umno that he was the right mentri besar, officially under Pak Lah,” Nizar told The Malaysian Insider last night.
The ousted mentri besar, who is also Bukit Gantang MP, alluded to internal strife within Umno Perak when Zambry was made Perak MB.
According to Nizar, Zambry’s claims that a top PKR leader had courted him and was offered the top post in Perak was engineered to psychologically sway Umno member’s opinions about his “legitimacy” as MB, since even “Pakatan Rakyat had been courting him.”
“Pak Lah had in fact on February 6 2009, pushed for him (Zambry) to be appointed… and at that time, his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin also wanted to become Umno Youth Chief,” claimed the Pasir Panjang assemblyman, referring to former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Nizar alleged that Zambry’ was pushed by Abdullah the former was the ex-Umno Youth leader of Perak, and thus had some political clout over the Umno Youth Wing.
“His claims does not hold any weightlah. He can say and claim whatever he wants, but he can’t justify it. I have not heard from any PR leaders on this matter.”
He noted that Zambry’s remarks came after PR lawmakers staged a walkout of the state assembly yesterday morning.
The stunning revelation was made during Zambry’s winding up speech on the debate of thanks on the royal address at the Perak State Assembly here this afternoon.
“I was courted. I was indeed courted when the (Barisan Nasional) government fell. The first person who was courted was Dr Zambry and not Nizar,” Zambry had said.
He did not reveal who the “number one leader” was and when asked whether he was referring to the party president (Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) or the adviser (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), Zambry merely said, “At the time, the leader was supposedly a very big leader”.
Nizar also told The Malaysian Insider that there had been a motion to remove his Datukship title.
“I was told that there was a motion tabled to pull back my Datukship,” he said, but did not elaborate on details.