KOTA KINABALU: Two opposition leaders want the police to come down hard on those involved in a fracas at Kota Kinabalu airport last night, saying it tarnished Sabah’s reputation as a peaceful state.
STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan and SAPP president Yong Teck Lee also said security at the airport was somewhat lacking and needed beefing up.
Umno Youth member Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris, better known as blogger Papagomo, was engaged in a shouting match with about 20 men as he and his supporters were about to board a plane back to Kuala Lumpur.
Papagomo had angered the public last week after he was said to have torn a photo of Chief Minister and Warisan president Shafie Apdal during the Kimanis by-election campaign.
Yong said it did not matter which group was right or wrong but those involved must bear the consequences or else the people would lose confidence in security at the airport.
He said such behaviour had never been seen at the airport and was “alien to Sabah’s harmonious and peaceful culture”.
“There were innocent bystanders, including the elderly, children and tourists. The Malaysia Airport authorities and security providers must ensure that such ugly incidents are not repeated,” he said.
Yong said it was normal in politics to disagree with each other but it was unacceptable to behave violently against political rivals.
“At the same time, tearing up the poster of any candidate or political party is also wrong,” the former Sabah chief minister said.
Kitingan said safety at Kota Kinabalu airport, the second busiest in the country, was now in question following the attack on Papagomo.
“Such brawls should never be tolerated especially if they take place at public places,” he said, adding that the incident had gone viral on social media.