Cool customer: Nizar attempted to report for work in a hugely symbolic gesture that raised his profile and won him new admirers Photo courtesy of Wartawan Rasmi Laman Reformasi; More pictures here
IPOH, Perak, Feb 10 (IPS) – During a tense press conference, in the midst of the current constitutional crisis in this state, peninsular Malaysia’s second largest, a reporter’s MP3 recorder/handphone began ringing.
The embattled chief minister Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin picked up the phone and pretended to answer it. “Hello? Oh, it’s Barack Obama, thank you, thank you, thanks for your support. I appreciate that, Mr President. I think you are wonderful.”
The reporters burst out laughing.
Nizar’s relaxed demeanour belies a steely determination as he engages in a battle of wills that has pitted him against the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and the monarch of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.
A member of the Islamic Party, PAS, one of three parties in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR or People’s Alliance) coalition, Nizar has quickly won widespread admiration that cuts across ethnicity and religious lines for his open and non-racial approach and his fiscal discipline in managing the state’s budget. Full article here.