KUALA KANGSAR, Feb 14 — Seating arrangements were thrown off kilter at the Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar tonight when Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin turned up for Sultan Azlan Shah's silver jubilee celebrations.
Besides injecting particularly awkward moments into the occasion Nizar's appearance was an obviously tactical move in his claim to be still the legitimate Perak menteri besar.
"We came to celebrate the silver jubilee together because we planned it many months ago. I was the head of the planning committee," Nizar told reporters just before he entered the palace.
Palace officials trying to avoid creating any embarrassing scenes did not turn Nizar away but he was not ushered to any of the main tables where Barisan Nasional dignitaries like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak were seated.
He was also not ushered to keep Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir, the man whom the Sultan swore in to replace him as MB and who he is suing for the job, company.
Instead, he was seated with two federal deputy ministers — Husni Hanadzlah and Kong Cho Ha, who are from Perak.
Also at the dinner were the other Malay Rulers and representatives.
Nizar continues to maintain he is menteri besar and has refused to resign even though he was directed to do so by the Sultan.
As a result he is now embroiled in a constitutional dispute with the state Ruler as he contends that the Sultan did not have powers to dismiss him as MB.