PETALING JAYA: Umno minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz’s “harsh statement” against a Sarawak minister last night has not gone down well with the state’s ruling BN component, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
PBB Youth chief Fadillah Yusof said Nazri had acted “inappropriately” when he called Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah “ignorant” and a “gangster”, among other things.
“We condemn the statement that Nazri made which was harsh and failed to represent BN’s family spirit,” he said in a statement today, while defending his party colleague.
Fadillah is also Nazri’s cabinet colleague being the federal works minister.
Nazri, speaking to the media yesterday, had told Karim to watch his mouth when issuing statements against the federal government, and accused the latter of being inexperienced.
His warning came after The Borneo Post quoted Karim as calling the new Tourism Tax a glaring example of the federal government imposing tax laws in Sarawak without consultation.
“If you think you’re a gangster, there are bigger gangsters than you,” Nazri had said.
Fadillah said these statements were an insult to Karim especially as the Sarawak government had put its trust on him to lead the tourism portfolio.
He added that Nazri should have used the proper channels within the ruling BN coalition to address disagreements on any issue, instead of making statements that can anger the public, especially Sarawakians who had given PBB a huge mandate in last year’s state elections.
“If there are any issues that require explanation, then the explanation should be done in a proper manner, not by belittling leaders from the same party,” Fadillah said.
“Sarawak BN Youth stands by the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation which must be prioritised, with any differences in opinions to be addressed harmoniously within the channels available in the party.
“Labelling one another as a ‘gangster’ is not just an insult to the individual, but it can also affect the party’s image. Especially since gangsterism is not a culture within BN or PBB.”
The new Tourism Tax, which will come into effect on July 1, will see guests paying up to RM20 extra per night during their stay in hotels anywhere in Malaysia, and is equally imposed on both Malaysians and foreigners.
Karim had urged the federal government to defer the implementation of the tax for Sabah and Sarawak, saying among others, that it must respect the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and consult these two states before implementing it.