PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Barisan Youth chief Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof should advise state minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah to not criticise the Federal Government publicly, said Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The Tourism and Culture Minister said that Abdul Karim should raise his disagreements during a Barisan meeting, adding that the matter on the tourism tax could have been discussed if it was brought up in the party spirit.
Nazri recently chided Abdul Karim over his remarks on the implementation of the tourism tax, labelling him "setahun jagung" (greenhorn) and advised him not to behave "like a gangster".
"Fadillah, please advise your minister. I am a senior minister, I know. I am merely reacting to false allegations made by Abdul Karim towards the Federal Government.
"We have no intention at all of taking away the rights of the Sarawak government," he said when contacted Monday.
Nazri said that Abdul Karim, who is the state Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, had "started" the tiff when he chose to make an open statement.
He questioned why Abdul Karim did not air his concerns in a Barisan meeting, but instead went on to criticise the Federal Government in public.
"Fadillah said that the issue should be discussed in Barisan. I want Fadillah to tell this to his state minister, Abdul Karim. Don't tell me about it. Go and tell your minister," said Nazri.
However, Nazri said that he was open in meeting Abdul Karim to talk things through.
"We can meet anytime. We are both Barisan members. That should have been done in the first place," he said.
Nazri also defended his labelling of Abdul Karim as "setahun jagung", explaining that it was a statement of fact rather than an insult.
He said that in the Malay idiom, "setahun jagung" refers to three months, as that is how long it takes for corn to harvest from the time it is sown.
"So I didn't mean any insult when I said he (Abdul Karim) was a 'setahun jagung' minister. It means he is a new minister.
"He was appointed as a minister less than three months ago and you cannot deny that he is a new minister," Nazri said.
However, Nazri remained adamant that Abdul Karim had behaved like a "gangster" over the tourism tax issue.
"Why can't he say, 'I am a new minister. I will seek clarification from the Federal Government'. That is better, isn't it? I said he is a 'gangster' because he straight away 'whacked' the Federal Government," said Nazri.
Fadillah, who is also the Works Minister, came to Abdul Karim's defence saying that Nazri's labelling of Abdul Karim as "setahun jagung" was an insult to the latter, whom the state leadership had entrusted to lead the ministry.
He had added that any disagreement should be discussed amicably through proper channels within Barisan and not done publicly or through the media.
Fadillah also said Barisan leaders labelling each other as "gangsters" was uncalled for and reflected badly on the party.
Abdul Karim had urged Putrajaya to defer the July 1 implementation of the tourism tax for Sabah and Sarawak.
He added that the Federal Government must respect the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as tourism was only federalised recently.