MTUC lashes out at Minister over “smartass” comment

Andrew Lo – Pix from Borneo Post

By John Isaac

MALAYSIAN Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo has lashed out at Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah for calling civil servants in the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) ‘smartass’.

He said the recent remark by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister was an insult to the civil servants in the SDMC who put 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.

“They are duty bound to follow established rules without fear or favour of exemptions and without interference from politicians and ministers. Such remarks will only compromise the rule of law.

“It is reflective of the arrogance of some of our chest thumping ministers who think they can get away with anything,” Lo said in a statement as reported by Borneo Post.

He was responding to Abdul Karim’s dissatisfaction that Malaysian artiste Dayang Nurfaizah was made to do a second Covid-19 swab test and quarantined when she entered Sarawak despite having clearance yesterday.

The Sarawakian-born artiste was invited as the main guest for the Sarawak New Year Countdown 2021 event yesterday.

Abdul Karim was recently quoted as saying the procedure for certain personnel to enter Sarawak for special cases is that they must get their swab test done in Peninsular Malaysia.

He also said he had managed to get the clearance to enter the state from SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas for Dayang.

“But I know some ‘smartass’ in SDMC must have overdone (their duty). The minister, the SDMC chairman had given me clearance but some ‘smartass’ tried to be better than the minister,” he had said.

In response to criticisms, Abdul Karim in a Facebook post urged those opposing the Sarawak New Year Countdown 2021 event, especially the opposition members, not to politicise the issue.

He said the event was organised to recognise the frontliners in the state, and only those specially invited are allowed to come into the Stadium Perpaduan.