JAKARTA: The Bugis Youth Assembly of Macassar, Indonesia (PPBMI) here today urged former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to make an open apology following his statement that insulted those of Bugis descent at an opposition gathering in Selangor recently.
PPBMI made the call through a protest memorandum which was handed over to the Malaysian Ambassador in Indonesia, here late this evening.
PPBMI head Arwin Welhalmina said in a statement that Dr Mahathir had humbled himself as a former prime minister when he had insulted a particular race.
He said the people of Bugis descent was a race that had succeeded to venture out throughout the world and Dr Mahathir should realise that the Bugis was an ethnic group that had played an important role in the formation of the Malay government and Sultanate.
He said that although Dr Mahathir’s intention of linking the Bugis descendants was to hurt the feelings of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but the insult had hurt the feelings of everyone of Bugis descent throughout the world, especially in Indonesia.
Dr Mahathir, when speaking at a gathering organised by the opposition parties on Oct 14 had linked Najib’s ancestors by saying that he was a descendant of ‘Bugis pirates’.
Arwin said the Assembly urged Dr Mahathir to apologise and retract his statement or the group would organise a large-scale demonstration in front of the Malaysian Embassy complex in Jakarta to express their protest.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim told Bernama, Dr Mahathir should tender an apology immediately on his indiscretion as it had brought problems to Malaysian nationals in Indonesia.
“As a statesman, Dr Mahathir should not have uttered such words and now he had placed the embassy and Malaysian nationals in danger because his statement had angered the local people of Bugis descent,” he said.