KUALA LUMPUR: Umno minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan says the public spat between him and Cabinet colleague Nazri Aziz will not affect their relationship.
This was because, Rahman added, Nazri was a man with a “good heart”, although he had gone “overboard” in defence on the new tourism tax.
“It’s just one of those little brother, big brother spats.
“You know Chief (Nazri), he has always been a very vocal person. But I think at times, as I mentioned in twitter, ministers should be more, how do I say it.. It’s okay if people want to complain or want to 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. But I know Chief, he’s good hearted.”
Rahman was speaking to reporters after the launch of the 16th Malaysia Economic Monitor here today.
His statement came after tourism and culture minister Nazri had lashed out at his Sarawak counterpart Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah for questioning a new tourism tax which kicks in next month.
Karim had said the new tax was an example of the federal government imposing tax laws in Sarawak without consultation, drawing a strong reaction from Nazri.
“You (Karim) should not talk big in politics. If you want to show samseng (thuggery), we are bigger samseng,” said Nazri, who also accused Karim of being an “inexperienced” minister.
Rahman got into the mix when he came to Karim’s defence, saying that while Karim might be a new minister, he was “undoubtedly a very seasoned Sarawak politician”.
This drew the ire of Nazri, who in turn, told the “new and inexperienced” Rahman to stay out of the dispute between him and Karim.
Asked about this, Rahman said: “He (Nazri) has a special relationship with all of us, but I think the articulation could have been done better.
“I think (soon) he will be smiling and embracing Karim, but I don’t know.”
The new tourism tax will kick in on July 1, and will see hotels nationwide being forced to charge between RM2.50 and RM20 per night.