JAKARTA: Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla wants Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to apologise for a remark in which he linked the Bugis people to pirates.
According to Antara news agency, Kalla said Mahathir’s remark was not only insulting to the Bugis community in Malaysia, but also to those in Indonesia.
“Firstly, as a Bugis person, I am protesting and shocked. Dr Mahathir should apologise. Because the Bugis are not just in South Sulawesi, but throughout Indonesia, even in Malaysia,” he said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
In his speech at a rally organised by opposition parties in Petaling Jaya on Oct 14, Mahathir allegedly tried to connect the ancestry of Prime Minister Najib Razak to possibly those from Bugis pirates.
Yesterday, Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia Zahrain Mohamed Hashim said that as part of his responsibility to preserve harmony between the two countries, he had taken the initiative to send a letter to Mahathir on Oct 23 urging him to take the necessary steps to clear the air between Malaysia and Indonesia.
However, he said, in a letter dated Nov 1, Mahathir refused to offer an apology for the remark but instead continued to make slanderous remarks against Najib.
Mahathir’s remarks has reportedly upset the Bugis people in Indonesia, resulting in the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta increasing security at the embassy’s premises.
On Oct 20, the embassy received a memorandum from the Indonesian Makassar Bugis Youth Association, stating its anger over Mahathir’s remark. – Bernama