(File pix) Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (left) and State Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (right). Pix by Ramdzan Masiam and Che Rani Che Din.

KUCHING: A statement issued by a Federal minister against State Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah does not reflect the spirit of consensus and togetherness in Barisan Nasional (BN).

Works Minister and State BN Youth chairman Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof described the criticism issued by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz against Karim as “harsh, improper and in contravention of the principles upheld by the ruling coalition.”

Fadillah also said it was uncalled for for Nazri to belittle Karim as "setahun jagung" (inexperienced) and "budak"(a youth) minister, simply because the state minister raised the concerns of tourism players in Sarawak.

"It is also uncalled for to call each other ‘samseng’ (a thug). This is not only an insult to the state minister, but also the ruling coalition in general.

"Sarawak BN and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) reject any form of gangsterism.

"Any issues affecting the people should be (addressed) within the big family of BN and not through media statements, which will only trigger anger among netizens," said Fadillah in a statement today.

It was reported that Nazri told Karim "not to talk so big" and reminded the latter that there are "bigger gangsters" than he.

Nazri was reacting to a statement made by Karim, who is also in charge of Sarawak’s Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports portfolios, in which questioned whether collections from the new tourism tax would be channelled back to the state.

Fadillah said that issues involving differences of opinion on the new tourism tax and other matters should be addressed in a manner of musyawarah (consultation) and permuafakatan (consensus).

"If there are issues that need to be ironed out, they should be resolved in a proper way and not by belittling other leaders within the coalition," he said.

Many netizens voiced their dismay over Nazri's statement against Karim, which was widely shared on social media.

Echoing the sentiments of Fadilah and netizens were Abdullah Saidol and Fazruddin Abdul Rahman, who are the Semop and Tupong state assemblymen, respectively.

Referring to Nazri as "Pak Menteri" (Mister minister), Abdullah, who is an Assistant State Minister, said respect goes both ways.

"It is the fasting month. You should be mature when issuing statements," he said on his Facebook account.

Fazzrudin described Nazri’s statement as “immature and unprofessional.”

Karim, in his immediate response, said he is unfazed by Nazri's remarks and that he was only defending the rights of the people in the state.

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