LENGGONG: Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad today revealed that he had to "rush" to form a state government with Pakatan Harapan after Perikatan Nasional attempted to "steal" four Barisan Nasional assemblymen.
The Perak menteri besar said he did not want a repeat of a "similar incident" which led to the change of government in the state.
Following the results of the 14th General Election, two former BN assemblymen, namely Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin and Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohamed Radzi, jumped to PN to form the state government.
"It hurt me when I was informed by someone I trust, that there were agents from PN who called and texted BN assemblymen to leave the party and join them. Just like what had happened in 2018.
"That is not the proper way. That is akin to backstabbing. The same thing happened in 2018 when Zainol and Nolee left BN. And now they were trying to steal four BN assemblymen to form a state government with PN.
"I may not be tall but I have a high spirit. I said no, this can't be happening. I immediately made a decision and called the palace to ask whether there was space available for me to have an audience with the Sultan (Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah) the next day (Nov 20)," he said.
The Perak BN chairman said this during a speech before a crowd of BN supporters at Dewan Kemas here today.
Saarani said he then had an audience with Sultan Nazrin at 12.30pm.
"I met all BN assemblymen and I told them I have met with Tuanku (Sultan Nazrin) to convey to His Majesty about my wish to form a state government with PH and there were no objections from them," he said.
Later in the evening, Saarani was sworn in as the 15th Perak menteri besar in front of Sultan Nazrin at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar.
In GE15, PH and BN agreed to cooperate to form the state government, after they respectively secured 24 and nine seats, while PN garnered 26 seats.
Saarani apologised for making the decision to work with PH after GE15 without discussing it with all Perak BN divisions and branch chiefs.
"We were running out of time. I believe that this is the right decision for religion and race. I am so sorry for not consulting with all party divisions and branch chiefs.
"Don't worry, I promise you, we have a menteri besar, three excos in the line-up. And should DAP continue to press me about land issues, I will pull our support from this government," he said.
In a press conference later, Saarani said he needed to explain the events that led to his decision to form a government with PH.
"So far the response is good, they (supporters) are beginning to accept the decision made. We forgive those who don't understand (why it had to be done). Some even thought that I had left Umno to join DAP.
"I said no, we only form a state government together and there should be no problem. I didn't betray the party," he said.