KOTA KINABALU: A war of words erupted between Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau of Upko and two Sabah Umno assemblymen at the state legislative assembly sitting on Tuesday (Aug 14).
The verbal exchange, which took place during a sitting chaired by deputy speaker Datuk Ahmad Abdul Rahman, started when Sulaman assemblyman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor referred to Madius, the president of Upko, as his "friend who ran to the other side" while presenting his supplementary question on the state Government's promise to create 600,000 jobs by 2023.
The acrimony between the two parties stems from the fact that Upko decided to leave Barisan Nasional on May 10 to form the state government with Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners PKR and DAP.
"This is nothing but 'janji-janji terang bulan' (empty promises)...," said Hajiji.
"My question is if this is just a promise that is 'indah khabar dari rupa' (reputation exceeds fact)?" added Hajiji, who is Sabah Umno liaison chairman.
When Ahmad asked Hajiji to explain what his remarks meant for the benefit of those in the august House, he replied: "Ask the DCM to explain what it means."
Madius, who is state Trade and Industry Minister and Tuaran MP, replied: "We did not run. Speaking on this matter, Umno can go back to Peninsular Malaysia."
Hajiji retaliated by demanding that Madius refrain from bringing up Umno in the assembly.
"Don't talk about Umno here! What kind of DCM is this? Answer the question, don't talk about Umno. You only won (in Tuaran) because Umno made you win.
"Answer the question properly," he demanded.
When Ahmad called for calm, Apas assemblyman Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan told the deputy speaker to "act fair without showing bias".
"There is no bias. If I am biased, you will see that I'm being biased," he said to Nizam.
"Please do not try my patience," Ahmad said later to the assemblymen.
The commotion was briefly stopped when Pitas assemblyman Datuk Bolkiah Ismail (Umno) raised a point of order, asking the politicians to remain silent while being addressed by the speaker and to focus on the issues being discussed instead of straying into political talks.
"Kau jangan cakap banyak sana! (Don't talk too much!)," Hajiji said to Bolkiah, as the other assemblymen in the hall broke into laughter.
The politicians composed themselves after Ahmad reminded them to be "careful" with their choice of words, and proceeded to grant Madius the floor to answer Hajiji's questions.
"This is the last warning."This is not a place to fight. If you want to fight, do it elsewhere, when I'm not around," he said.