Zahid: Jusuf Kalla hurt by 'Bugis pirates' remark

ISTANBUL: Vice President of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla has felt offended and hurt by the remarks of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who allegedly described Bugis people as 'pirates', according to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the Indonesian leader had personally expressed this to him during an informal discussion at the Developing-8 (D-8) summit here, yesterday.

"As an Indonesian vice president of Bugis descent, he is deeply offended by the words, which seem to have insulted the Bugis people, whether they were from Malaysia or Sulawesi (Indonesia)," he told Malaysian journalists here, today.

Ahmad Zahid, who is currently in Turkey leading the Malaysian delegation at the summit, said the term 'pirate' used by Dr Mahathir was inappropriate, as history has proven that some of the Malay warriors who kept peace in the archipelago once were also of Bugis descent.

He said, in fact, the community was deliberately labelled as 'pirates' by the colonialists to downplay the contribution and role the Malay warriors played in fighting colonialism.

"So whoever labels Bugis as pirates, they are doing the same as what the colonialists had once done, their incorrect views not far apart," he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the authorities had received numerous police reports from individuals and associations urging the authorities to take action on the issue.

"The police will look into all the reports made by them," he said.

Several parties representing the Bugis community in Malaysia earlier demanded Dr Mahathir to openly apologise over the issue.

Dr Mahathir, at a gathering attended by opposition leaders in Petaling Jaya on Oct 14, allegedly described Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak as a descendant of Bugis pirates. — Bernama