PETALING JAYA: Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz says while he accepts the advice of his cabinet colleague Abdul Rahman Dahlan, he is too old to change his style of politics.
“I’m old, I’ve been in politics for 40 years. It’s too late for me to change my style.
“I’ve always been like this. I’ve always been a warrior, a fighter, and I don’t think I can change at this very late hour,” he said to FMT.
Nazri’s comments came after Rahman advised him to be more tactful when answering queries from other political leaders, especially the one posed by his Sarawak counterpart, Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“It’s okay if people want to complain or raise issues. At the federal level we (need to) listen more. We cannot be answering queries with (questions such as) you are ‘anak jantan’ (a man) or not.
“He has been talking about this ‘jantan’ and ‘betina’ (woman) thing for so long already. We need to move on,” Rahman had said earlier today.
To this, Nazri said it didn’t matter whether he is liked or not. What mattered was his intention, which he said was to “defend my federal government, my party, and my president”.
“The style shall remain the same,” he added.
Nazri said had Karim approached him and asked him personally about the subject of contention – the new tourism tax – he would have answered in an appropriate manner.
Instead, he said, Karim had “shot from the hip” and accused him and the federal government of disrespecting Sarawak’s state rights.
“Rahman should know how I answer questions in Parliament. He can learn a lot from it.
“If anyone asks me a question, I will answer. But what had happened (with Karim) was, he didn’t ask me any question, he just made accusations.”
However, despite the public spat between him and Karim, which has dragged on for several days now, Nazri said all parties involved, including Rahman, should know that he is not one to take such disputes to heart.
“Rahman should know, he has been in the cabinet with me for the last few years. I am never one to take things on a personal level, and I will never be.
“As he can see when I’m in Parliament, I will debate with the opposition, I can fight with them, but at the end of the day, I sit down with them.
“That’s my style. So Rahman shouldn’t worry, I don’t take it personally. But I just want to remind Rahman that he is an Umno member, and a member of the federal cabinet.”
That was why he was taken aback when the MP for Kota Belud in Sabah had interfered in his dispute with Karim, Nazri added.
Karim had said the new tourism tax was a glaring example of the federal government imposing tax laws in Sarawak without consultation, prompting a strong response from Nazri.
“You (Karim) should not talk big in politics. If you want to show samseng (thuggery), we are bigger samseng,” Nazri had said on Sunday.
Rahman had defended Karim in a series of tweets, saying that although Karim was a new minister, he was also “a very seasoned Sarawak politician with many years as elected YB”.
This prompted Nazri to take aim at Rahman as well, telling FMT that Rahman was also a “new and inexperienced” minister and should not interfere in his spat with Karim.