KUALA LUMPUR • The Royal Council of Selangor yesterday urged the authorities to investigate former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for sedition over his alleged insult to those who trace descent from South-east Asia's ancient Bugis seafaring community.
Over the past few weeks, Tun Dr Mahathir, 92, has been sharply criticised for comments at an opposition rally last month where he is reported to have described Prime Minister Najib Razak as a "Bugis pirate".
Dr Mahathir's remarks about his former protege came in the context of alleged mismanagement of billions of dollars by state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, in which Datuk Seri Najib has denied all wrongdoing.
"An investigation and legal action must be taken against Dr Mahathir under the Sedition Act 1948, or any related laws," the Royal Council of Selangor said in a statement.
Dr Mahathir's comments at the rally were "excessive", it added, and could spark hatred for those of Bugis ethnicity, besides which the speech "indirectly insults" the Bugis lineage of the sultanate of Selangor.
Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah urged all parties, particularly politicians, to avoid the use of racial issues for political capital as this could disrupt harmony and unity, the statement said.
The police were not immediately available for comment.
Dr Mahathir's office did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comment. The former prime minister last month said his criticism targeted only those of Bugis ancestry who stole people's money, news reports have said.
A body representing Malaysia's Bugis community demanded that Dr Mahathir apologise and retract his statement, state news agency Bernama said last month.
Originally seafarers who hailed from Indonesia, the Bugis community established sultanates on the Malaysian peninsula.