JAKARTA • Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla wants Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to apologise over his remark linking the ancient seafaring Bugis people to pirates.
According to the Antara news agency, Mr Kalla said the statement by Tun Dr Mahathir was insulting not only 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, Dr Mahathir reportedly described Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as a "Bugis pirate".
Dr Mahathir has said his comments were targeted at those with Bugis ancestry who stole people's money, referring to the alleged mismanagement of billions of dollars by state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad - better known as 1MDB - in which Datuk Seri Najib has denied all wrongdoing.
On Nov 2, the Sultan of Selangor, who also has Bugis ancestry, urged the authorities to investigate Dr Mahathir for sedition over his remarks.
On Monday, Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia Zahrain Mohamed Hashim said as part of his responsibility to preserve harmony between the two countries, he had taken the initiative to send a letter to Dr 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, Dr Mahathir not only did not apologise, but he continued to slander Mr Najib.
He added that Dr Mahathir's remarks upset the Bugis people in Indonesia, resulting in the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta increasing security at its premises.