History of Ir.Nizar
Datuk Seri Ir. Haji Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (born 17 March 1957) is the former Menteri Besar (MB) of the Malaysian state of Perak, a post equivalent to a Chief Minister and Member of Malaysian Parliament for Bukit Gantang. Nizar is the secretary of the Perak’s Branch Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). As Menteri Besar of Perak, he heads the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in Perak which comprises mainly of members mainly from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and his own party, PAS. Nizar was the first MB from the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
Appointed by the Crown Prince of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah over two other candidates, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Jamaluddin Mohd. Radzi, his appointment was shrowded in controversy, particularly because his party was the smallest party in Pakatan Rakyat and the state assembly. The controversy did not last, as very soon all the Pakatan Rakyat MLAs threw their support behind Nizar enabling him to be sworn in on 17 March 2008, his 51st birthday.
Nizar is an engineering graduate from Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom. He took over the chief minister post from Datuk Seri DiRaja Tajol Rosli Mohd. Ghazali of Barisan Nasional. Nizar is the son of a Malay father and a Chinese mother, who was raised in a Malay-Muslim household from birth.
Appoinment as Menteri Besar
On 8 March 2008, the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in Perak won 31 seats of the 59 seat Perak State Assembly, which enabled it to form a majority state government. The Democratic Action Party commanded the most seats out of the 31 seats held by Pakatan Rakyat and were the claimants to the post of Menteri Besar. However, the Perak State Constitution stipulated that the Menteri Besar must be of Malay descent, and a non-Malay could only be appointed by a royal waiver by the Perak Palace. To resolve this, all three parties sent their nominations for the MB post to the Regent of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah. Nizar was chosen over Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham of the DAP and Jamaluddin Mohd. Radzi of PKR on 12 March 2008 by Raja Nazrin, and sworn in on 17 March 2008 at Istana Iskandariah, Kuala Kangsar. Nizar was the first person not part of the Barisan National coalition to hold such a post in Perak.
The appointment of Nizar created a minor stir within the opposition coalition after the DAP’s central executive committee, under the advice of Lim Kit Siang ordered Perak DAP state assemblymen to boycott the swearing-in ceremony to be held on 13 March 2008. Raja Nazrin then ordered a delay of the swearing in ceremony and asked all 31 of Pakatan Rakyat’s assemblymen to pledge their support of Nizar’s appointment, since otherwise Nizar is shown as not having majority support and therefore cannot be appointed as the Menteri Besar. Lim has since apologised and stated that he did not mean to disrespect the decision of the sultan and the regent of Perak. Following the resolution of this matter, all the state assemblymen from PKR, PAS and DAP (including Lim Kit Siang) attended the Menteri Besar swearing-in ceremony in support of Nizar.
Nizar’s administration granted freehold title to ethnic Chinese landholders in the settlements called as New Villages (Kampung Baru) in Perak. The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak disputed the state government’s ability to grant the freehold titles, instead saying that the jurisdiction lied federally. Almost every act of his administration was critisised by the Malaysian mainstream press, especially by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian, an UMNO-owned, Malay-nationalist newspaper.
Nizar’s administration was hounded by constant accusations of being a proxy to the DAP which had the majority seats in the State Assembly. In particular he was accused of being a puppet DAP’s Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming, senior exco members in his cabinet.
Perak Constitutional Crisis
In July 2008, former Perak MB Datuk Seri DiRaja Tajol Rosli Mohd. Ghazali claimed that the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Perak will fall on 31 August 2008 – Malaysia’s Independence day through defections to Barisan Nasional from the PR camp – a clear corruption of PR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s 16 September 2008 plan to engineer mass defections of BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to form the new federal government. Nizar dismissed Tajol’s claims and remarked “Who is he (Tajol) to predict the future?”.
On 25 January 2009, BN’s MLA from the Bota constituency, Datuk Nasarudin Hashim announced his defection from UMNO, a BN component party, to PKR, the second largest party in Nizar’s Perak PR coalition. Nasarudin said that his decision was fully supported by his constituents and reaffirmed that no monetary award was offered to him by PR. Nizar and Anwar supported and welcomed Nasarudin into the PR coalition and Anwar claimed more BN MLAs were going to defect to PR a few days later. Nizar then claimed that three more MLAs from UMNO would defect to PR After Nasarudin’s resignation from UMNO, Perak UMNO chief and former MB Tajol Rosli resigned as Perak BN chairman and Perak UMNO chief, taking responsibility for the defection of Nasarudin. Soon after, UMNO Malaysia Deputy President, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister took over as Perak UMNO Chairman and Perak BN Chairman from Tajol Rosli.
Barisan Nasional (BN) then engineered the re-crossover of Nasarudin and three other Perak assemblymen from PR, and effectively and controversially ended the PR majority government. The new Perak government, under Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, swore in some executive councillors, but Nizar refused to bow down, and continued his daily routines. The speaker of the assembly, V. Sivakumar then suspended all BN executive councillors for “contempt of assembly” after a complaint by one assemblyman.
On 11 May 2009, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the Sultan could not constitutionally remove Nizar from office, and that Nizar had always been the rightful Menteri Besar. Nizar announced his intention to immediately meet with the Sultan to request dissolution of the state assembly, while Zambry Abdul Kadir, the intended Barisan Menteri Besar, stated he would vacate the state secretariat as soon as possible.
On 12 May 2009, The Court of Appeal has granted a stay of execution on High Court decision which recognised Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful Perak menteri besar. Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his executive councillors vacated their office this afternoon as a respect to the decision made by the Court of Appeal. On the meanwhile, Zambry wants to resume duties as MB.
Nizar is married to Datin Seri Fatimah Taat and they have seven children. Currently, he is residing in a rented home at Sungai Rokam, Perak after being asked to vacate the official residence for the Menteri Besar at Jalan Raja DiHilir by the state secretary, Datuk Abdul Rahman Hashim