PUTRAJAYA: The team of policemen who arrived to record a statement from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today questioned him for allegedly insulting the Bugis community during a recent 'Anti-Kleptocracy Rally' at Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya.
Dr Mahathir's lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said although they were informed yesterday that police would record a statement from the former premier over the report lodged by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail, they were instead questioned about the Bugis remarks.
“A total of four officers and two rank and files from Bukit Aman came today to record a statement over several reports lodged over Tun’s speech in connection with the phrase ‘Bugis’.
“Tun has cooperated and has answered questions that he needed to answer and could be answered. There were 32 questions,” he said, adding the session took about 45 minutes.
The recorded statement amounted to seven pages of report.
Haniff said the investigations were made in pursuant to three provisions of the law – the Sedition Act, Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988.
Haniff said Dr Mahathir had cooperated with the police and said that he was willing to answer in court, whatever the charges levelled against him.
He said Dr Mahathir had explained that the Bugis remark was made in reference to only one particular person.
“Tun is not perturbed in the event that he would be charged, but if they want to charge then just charge, do not come and take the time of the senior statesman.
“He will answer judges in court without concern about what the sentence is, because the sentence will only be meted out if he is found guilty. As far as we are concerned he is not guilty,” he said, adding this is the fifth time police had questioned Dr Mahathir on several issues.
Earlier, a team of policemen were seen entering the Perdana Leadership Foundation headquarters here at 1.34pm.
Dr Mahathir had received a rebuke from many quarters, including political and non-governmental groups, for a speech he allegedly made during the Anti-Kleptocracy Rally organised by Pakatan Harapan on Oct 14, when he said Malaysia had a leader who was a descendent of “Bugis pirates”.
Several police reports have been lodged by various parties, including the Bugis community in Malaysia, who took offence over the matter.
Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had previously expressed his displeasure with Dr Mahathir over his remarks against the Bugis community.
Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, in an exclusive interview with the Media Prima Group in conjunction with his 59th birthday recently, said he felt slighted by Dr Mahathir's remarks which equated the Bugis community with pirates.
He had said that such callous statements made by politicians could sow the seeds of hatred among the people.