Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has returned two awards he had received from the sultan of Selangor, including the highest order awarded by the state, sources said.
Both were returned last Thursday. They were handed over to a senior officer at the office of the sultan of Selangor at Istana Bukit Kayangan in Shah Alam, reports The Malaysian Insight.
“The reason is clear,” said another source when asked why the former prime minister-turned-opposition leader returned the awards. He did not elaborate.
It has been reported that the Selangor ruler, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, was outraged at Dr Mahathir’s insult of the Bugis community.
During the “Love Malaysia, end kleptocracy” rally in Petaling Jaya on October 14, Dr Mahathir slammed Prime Minister Najib Razak as a descendent of a “Bugis pirate”.
The Selangor royal court on November 2 released a statement saying that the sultan was enraged and disappointed with Dr Mahathir’s speech, urging the police to investigate the Pakatan Harapan chairman for allegedly inciting hatred towards the Bugis.
Dr Mahathir was the recipient of two awards of honour from the sultan of Selangor in 1978 and 2003.
He received the title, Darjah Kebesaran Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (SPMS) Darjah Kelas Pertama on June 22, 1978.
The SPMS was awarded to only two individuals at any one time with a maximum quota of up to 40 people. Since 1998, the award carries the title of “Datuk Seri”.
A month before his retirement in October 2003, Dr Mahathir was awarded the Darjah Yang Amat Dihormati Kelas Pertama (DK) at a special recognition ceremony called “Jasamu Dikenang” at Istana Alam Shah in Klang.
The award is only given to a maximum of 25 people at any one time, and was a sign of appreciation from the Selangor government towards Dr Mahathir’s contributions during his tenure as prime minister, Bernama reported then.
During the ceremony, Sultan Sharafuddin said he was proud to award the DK title to Dr Mahathir, whom he had known personally since 1970 as a good friend of his father, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, reported The Star.
But things soured between Dr Mahathir and the Selangor palace following the former’s alleged insult of the Bugis at the rally in Petaling Jaya.
A video of his speech was shared on social media and it received objections and criticism from the Bugis in Malaysia and some parts of Indonesia.
Among those who expressed disappointment at Dr Mahathir’s statement was Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, who is from South Sulawesi.
In response, Dr Mahathir said he was not insulting the Bugis but was only targeting Najib, who had famously boasted of his Bugis ancestry.
“My speech was targeted at Najib, who often claims to be a Bugis warrior. Bugis warriors don’t steal,” he wrote in his blog dated October 26.
The reference was to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, a Najib brainchild, which has racked up more than RM40 billion losses.
Source: The Malaysian Insight