'I felt hurt by Dr M's remarks'

November 24, 2017 @ 9:00AM
By A JALIL HAMID Ahmad Fairuz Othman

JOHOR BARU: Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar admitted that he felt slighted by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks which equated the Bugis community with pirates.

He said such callous statements made by politicians could sow the seeds of hatred among the people.

Sultan Ibrahim said that such negative perceptions could risk destroying the Johorean practice of cooperation, or muafakat, which had led to peace and prosperity all this while.

“I, too, felt slighted (by what he said). I am of Bugis descent. The Sultan of Selangor is of Bugis descent. Many Johoreans are of Bugis descent. My ancestry can be traced to Riau-Lingga, where there are many Bugis people. What will the Bugis feel?

“Imagine if I say that Chinese were robbers. Won’t the Chinese feel slighted? If I say the Indians are murderers? The Indians will feel slighted.

“This is what I have been saying. Such things will cause disunity and incite hatred among the races.

“We should be respecting one another. We cannot allow anyone to say something that will cause one race to hate another.

“There is not just one race involved in developing Johor. Everyone plays a role,” said Sultan Ibrahim during an exclusive interview with the Media Prima Group at Istana Pasir Pelangi in conjunction with his 59th birthday.

The ruler said he wanted all Johoreans, regardless of race, to unite in spite of the challenges that came their way.

He said that any semblance of disunity could disrupt Johor’s development, and affect the state’s prosperity and the people’s wellbeing.

“The Malays, Indians, Chinese and all others are Bangsa Johor. Once there is disunity, the Malays will not be the only ones who will be disunited.

“The Indians will be disunited and Chinese will be disunited, and this will mean that the Bangsa Johor will be disunited,” he said.

Sultan Ibrahim said that it was important for the people to throw their support for the Johor government, which had always placed emphasis on unity.

“If everyone unites to support the administration of the Johor government, I feel that there will not be any problem with Johor. If Johor wants to progress, listen to my advice.

“I have said for so long that the best present that the people can give me is unity among the people. I do not ask for anything else,” said Sultan Ibrahim.

The ruler said that when it comes to Malay unity, he wanted the community to practise the Bangsa Johor concept of Muafakat Membawa Berkat (concord is a blessing), which has been embraced by Johoreans all this while.

Dr Mahathir received a rebuke from many quarters, including political and non-governmental groups, for a speech he made during the “Anti-Kleptocracy Rally” organised by Pakatan Harapan on Oct 14.

He had alleged that Malaysia was being led by a prime minister, who is of Bugis descent, and equated the community to pirates.

Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar speaking to New Straits Times Press Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Jalil Hamid at Istana Pasir Pelangi, Johor Baru, yesterday. Pix by Zain Ahmed