PETALING JAYA: DAP leaders have maintained silence over Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks about the Bugis community despite calls for them to speak up.
Two weeks ago, Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications deputy director Datuk Eric See-To had asked DAP why they had refused to speak up against Tun Mahathir's "hate speech".
Gerakan’s Datuk Liang Teck Meng on Sunday (Nov 26) also challenged DAP leaders to speak out, calling their silence "deafening".
"With their silence and failure to condemn, is DAP now approving that politicians can call any party to 'balik' (go home) to their hometowns," Liang questioned.
This was followed by MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker who said that tolerating a politician asking someone to "go back (balik) to Bugis" is the same as allowing others to be called to "Balik Tongsan" (return to China).
When contacted, several prominent DAP leaders refused to comment.
"Whatever I said will be twisted and interpreted wrongly, so I prefer to say 'no comment'," DAP vice-chairperson Teresa Kok said through WhatsApp.
DAP assistant publicity secretary Teo Nie Ching echoed Dr Mahathir's defence that his controversial statement was directed at one person and not to the Bugis community.
"I believe Tun M is referring to one specifc Bugis," Teo, who is Kulai MP, said without elaborating.
The Sultan of Johor had slammed Dr Mahathir for making the Bugis remark saying he was personally hurt as the Johor Sultanate has Bugis origins.
DAP’s political education director Liew Chin Tong also avoided making comments.
"I will respond to you tomorrow, I am busy now," he said on Sunday evening.
Attempts to call him on Monday (Nov 27) went unanswered.
Both Teo and Liew are parliamentarians from Johor.
Dr Mahathir had said that Malaysia had a leader who descended from “Bugis pirates” at the “Love Malaysia, End Kleptocracy” rally on Oct 14.
His remark drew the ire of Bugis groups, Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla and the Selangor Sultan, who responded with a stinging rebuke calling for Dr Mahathir to be investigated for sedition.
Did you find this article insightful?