DR Mahathir Mohamad said there is no reason to provoke Indonesians using the controversy of his Bugis remarks as they are not voting in Malaysia’s 14th general election.
In a letter to Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, the former prime minister said he did not call the Bugis community “pirates”, and instead, had said Prime Minister Najib Razak might be a descendent of Bugis pirates.
“It’s undeniable that long ago, there were Bugis pirates. There were also Malays who were pirates. Nowadays, there are pirates in the Straits of Malacca.
“The Indonesian people know that Najib is a crook who is involved in graft and has tarnished Malaysia’s reputation.
“There is no need to instigate them. They are not going to vote in GE14.”
Dr Mahathir’s letter, dated November 1, was in response to Zahrain’s letter on October 23, urging the Pakatan Harapan chairman to take the necessary action to clear the air between Malaysia and Indonesia.
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla is among those from the republic who have called on Dr Mahathir to apologise.
Last month, the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta received a memorandum from the Indonesian Makassar Bugis Youth Association, expressing anger at Dr Mahathir’s statement.
It was reported that the embassy has boosted security at its premises, citing concerns that anger in Indonesia would spill over.
Dr Mahathir has said he is ready to be investigated, following police’s move to open two investigation papers on him over his allegedly derogatory remarks, which were made at the “Love Malaysia, End Kleptocracy” rally in Petaling Jaya on October 14.
The investigation papers were opened even before the Selangor Royal Court issued a statement, calling for Dr Mahathir to be investigated for sedition for allegedly inciting hatred towards those of Bugis descent.
In his letter to Zahrain, the opposition leader alleged that Najib was known worldwide as a “crook who had stolen billions from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the Employees Provident Fund, Retirement Fund Inc and Tabung Haji”.
He said the text of his speech could be found online, and that Najib’s efforts to twist his words would not work, unless “he gives ‘handouts’ to ensure there is a bad reaction to me”.
The Bersatu chairman said the party’s secretary was Bugis, as well as “many others seeking to take down Najib”, referring to Johor folk.
“The opposition’s manifesto shows that we are aware that there are many officials forced to support Najib.
“If there are those who have been mistreated by him, we will cover their losses. They, too, just want to have food on the table.