KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon today joined in the chorus of censure against Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz, saying his action can reinforce perceptions that Umno is a racist bully.
“I’m sure it will (affect non-Malay votes towards Barisan Nasional),” senator Koh told a press conference at Parliament lobby here.
He said that Nazri’s reproach against all the non-Malay component parties in an interview with a Chinese daily recently was against the BN’s team spirit and uncalled for, especially when the ruling coalition was preparing for a key battle in the April 16 Sarawak election.
He called the de facto law minister a “lose cannon”, saying that his actions could dent the ruling coalition’s chances at the polls in Sarawak, which begins on April 6.
“This lose cannon is shooting up our line-up, our own army,” said Koh, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“He is totally irresponsible. (What he said) is extremely damaging,” he added.
Nazri is also in the same ministry but both have yet to meet each other to settle the row, he said.
Old feuds rekindled
Nazri has come under heavy fire over his remarks on non-Malay component parties, especially on MCA, the second biggest BN partner.
He likened MCA to an “aggrieved woman” or a “wife who complains all day long that she was being abused, raped and not given enough food, but yet does not want to divorce her husband”.
Carried in the Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau, his statement instantly earned him the wrath of top MCA leaders, reigniting a recent feud between the party and its BN partner, Umno.
Although the row died off eventually, MCA leaders were still taking pot shots at Umno, warning it against acting like a “Big Brother” in BN, saying this would hurt the coalition’s effort to regain non-Malay support.
Nazri claimed he was misquoted and that his statement was his personal view but for Koh, and MCA leaders, the damage has been done.
“It doesn’t help at all to quell the notion that Umno is arrogant. I was quite shocked by the severity of his statement,” said Koh.
He added that Nazri could have used internal channels to express his views.
BN adheres to a code of non-interference as far as disciplinary issues within individual component parties are concerned and often leave punitive measures against errant members to their own respective parties.
Koh said that it was up to the top leadership to decide if action should be taken against Nazri.
But he urged Nazri to clarify and apologise openly to back his claim that he was misquoted by the media.