Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz should take the first step to resolve the dispute between him and Sarawak minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah in the best possible way, said Datuk Seri Anifah Aman today.

Citing the example given by the Tourism and Cultural Minister on the number of hotels in Sabah and Sarawak and the Peninsula, Anifah said it was uncouth for Nazri to make such a comparison.

“Such an issue must be explained properly in order to avoid from any untoward incidents that can hurt the hearts and feelings of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

"It is inappropriate for Mohamed Nazri to compare the number of five star hotels in Sabah and Sarawak with that in the Peninsula," said the Kimanis Member of Parliament in a statement here today.

A number of portals have reported Mohamed Nazri making some unkind remarks - using words like "baru setahun jagung jadi menteri" (still a greenhorn minister) and "samseng" (gangster) - during the Iftar programme @ KL at Dataran Merdeka on Sunday.

It was in response to Abdul Karim's statement last week on the tourism tax, which will come into force on July 1.

Abdul Karim had reportedy urged the government to defer the implementation of the tax in Sabah and Sarawak for fear that it would have a negative impact on the two states' tourism industry.

Anifah in the statement also advised all quarters to respect each other.

“In Barisan Nasional (BN), like a family, we must have respect for each other and resolve any indifferences through proper channels to protect the harmony among the people,” he said.

“As a colleague in the Federal Government, I am of the opinion that this matter should be discussed in a more diplomatic way to reflect the spirit of unity in BN,” said Anifah who is also Foreign Minister.