PUTRAJAYA: A group of Bugis descendants protested in front of the Perdana Leadership Foundation here demanding that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad retract his remark allegedly referring to the community as “pirates”.
The Persatuan Rumpun Bugis Melayu Malaysia urged Dr Mahathir to apologise for “hurting the feelings” of the Bugis people.
The group’s deputy president Tasman Matto said as a leader who helmed the country for 22 years, Dr Mahathir should have known that such remarks were unbecoming.
“He shouldn’t have said that the Bugis should go back to Sulawesi, where they came from.
“At least there is one Bugis who has been appointed prime minister,” Tasman said.
Dr Mahathir, 92, had told the “Sayangi Malaysia, Hapuskan Kleptokrasy” rally last Saturday (Oct 14) that Malaysia was being led by a prime minister who came from “Bugis pirates”.
Tasman said the former premier should not have resorted to using the racial card, as others could also question his ancestry.
“What if we asked him where he actually came from?” Tasman said, insinuating that Dr Mahathir was also a son of an immigrant.
It is known that Dr Mahathir's paternal ancestry is from the state of Kerala in India.
Tasman said the group would lodge police reports if Dr Mahathir, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, failed to retract and apologise for his remark.
“But we would not set any timeframe for him to do so. We will give him time,” he said.
Earlier, the group chanted, "Bugis bukan lanun" (Bugis are not pirates) and "Allahuakbar" (God is great) while holding placards supporting the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.