MTUC rues Abdul Karim’s ‘not in good taste’ smartass remark

Andrew Lo

KUCHING, Dec 31: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s ‘smartass’ remark against frontliners reflects the ignorance of the struggles of these health workers.

This is the view of Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak Division secretary Andrew Lo as he expressed deep regrets for the uncalled-for comment by the minister on the civil servants who are also members of MTUC.

“MTUC Sarawak deeply regrets the uncalled-for remark by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, calling civil servants ‘smartass’. These civil servants are our frontliners, putting their own health at risk in performing their duties.

“There are also our Union members. The minister’s remark is reflective of the ignorance of workers and their struggles in Sarawak,” he said in a statement today.

Going on, Lo viewed such an inconsiderate statement by Abdul Karim would compromise the rule of law as politicians and ministers are duty-bound to follow established rules without fear or favour of exemptions and without interference.

Not only that, he said, it was also reflective of the arrogance of some ministers in Sarawak.

“It is reflective of the arrogance of some of our chest-thumping ministers who think they can get away with anything,” said Lo.

He was responding to a news report by MalayMail on Dec 29 of an artiste being given a special exemption and pass to enter Sarawak as the main guest for the New Year countdown event to be held at Indoor Stadium tonight without the need for quarantine.

Despite having clearance, the Sarawak-born artiste Dayang Nurfaizah, who had already done a Covid-19 test in Peninsular Malaysia prior to departure, was made to do a second swab test and quarantined when she entered Sarawak.

Abdul Karim, who was irked by the inconvenience caused on the artiste, complained that “some ‘smartass’ in SDMC (State Disaster Management Committee) must have overdone (their duty)” as SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas had given the clearance.

Abdul Karim explained that these special cases who must produce test results were allowed to enter for 72 hours without being quarantined.—DayakDaily