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Near brawl at Sarawak polls briefing

 | August 2, 2012

PKR has rapped Sarawak's Assistant Minister of Youth Development Karim Hamzah for "opening his shirt" and daring a party official to a fight.

KUCHING: A ruckus at an Election Commission briefing has left the opposition here seething.

Shocked state PKR leaders who attended the briefing said Assistant Minister of Youth Development Abdul Karim Hamzah had behaved “like a gangster” towards the party’s Senadin candidate Dr Michael Teo.

According to one of the leaders who declined to be named, during the question and answer session, Teo had claimed that the postal votes cast by uniformed personnel could be manipulated if the ballot boxes were not placed at the tallying centres after voting process. Teo also alleged that it might lead to vote tampering.

“Karim became angry and told Teo to stop asking stupid questions. Teo then replied that he was not talking to him but to the Election Commission chairman and other officials.

“This rattled Karim who almost attacked him,” said the leader.

The leader went on to add that Karim’s hooligan-like behaviour was well known in the State Legislative Assembly.

“During Dewan Undangan Negeri (state assembly) meetings, he used to disturb opposition assemblymen by interrupting them so much so that (during one sitting) the Kota Sentosa assemblyman (Chong Chieng Jen once) told him to behave like assistant minister.

“Karim used to tell Sarawakians to be wary of PKR’s politics of gangsterism and chaos. It would appear that he is the one who is resorting to gangsterism in order to intimidate his opponents,” he said.

‘Behave like a minister, Karim’

Meanwhile Teo, when contacted by FMT, confirmed the incident, saying that Semop assemblyman Abdullah Saidol had restrained Karim, otherwise there may have been a brawl.

“All this happened in front of the Election Commission officials and reporters.

“All I did was tell Karim: ‘I was not talking to you. I am here not to fight anybody’.

“This made him very angry which led him to open his shirt and asked me to go out to fight him one to one,” said Teo who is still puzzled as to why Karim considered his question stupid.

Teo said Karim’s behavior was “more like a gangster and (it was) unbecoming of an assistant minister.”

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian, who witnessed the whole incident refused to comment except to say that ‘you know what type of a person he (Karim) is”.

“It is not worth commenting,” Bian, who is the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, added.


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