BERSATU Youth (Armada) chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has defended Dr Mahathir Mohamad against the Selangor Royal Court’s opinion that the Pakatan Harapan chairman be investigated for sedition, for allegedly inciting hatred towards the Bugis community.
In an open letter written in Malay court language and addressed to Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Syed Saddiq said previous remarks by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Dr Mahathir’s Indian heritage were no different from what the former prime minister had said.
Syed Saddiq said he begged to differ with the Royal Court’s view that the Bersatu chairman had insulted people of Bugis descent, adding that Dr Mahathir had already explained the context of his remarks.
“Tuanku may have misunderstood Dr Mahathir’s remarks about the Bugis.
The Armada leader was responding to a statement issued by Selangor Royal Court secretary Hanafisah Jais, who said Dr Mahathir had appeared to incite Malaysians to hate, degrade and view the Bugis community with contempt with his criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak, whom he called a “Bugis pirate”.
The Royal Court felt that Dr Mahathir had indirectly demeaned the history and heritage of the Selangor sultanate, which is descended from the Bugis.
Syed Saddiq’s statement, which he said he wrote in his personal capacity and not to represent Bersatu, went on to highlight Dr Mahathir’s previous remarks, explaining his use of the ethnic group’s name when criticising Najib, whose family has Bugis ancestry.
Dr Mahathir has said it was Najib who first declared himself as a “Bugis warrior” in a speech made in June.
The former prime minister said since then, he had used the term to criticise only Najib, and not the community as a whole.
The Bugis are an ethic group from the Sulawesi islands in Indonesia, and large sections of Malaysia’s Muslim community are of Bugis descent.
“Dr Mahathir was using it as part of a narrative to raise awareness that Najib is hiding behind his ancestry to cover up his abuse of power and corruption.
“This is something that should actually shame those of Bugis descent,” Syed Saddiq said, adding that the issue had been politicised.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT