Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has returned the two awards he received from the Selangor Palace, a move believed to be related to the palace’s outrage over his remark on the Bugis, an ethnic group.
Mahathir, also the chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi), was the recipient of two medals of honour from the then Selangor Sultan in 1978 and 2003. One of them was the Darjah Kebesaran Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (SPMS) (First Class).
Pribumi supreme council member Dr Rais Husin confirmed that Dr Mahathir had returned the awards to the palace.
“Yes,” Dr Rais said in a WhatsApp reply. On why Dr Mahathir made the decision to give back the awards, Dr Rais only said “it is very clear.”
Attempts to get the Selangor Palace and Dr Mahathir’s office for comments have not been successful.
Dr Mahathir, 93, reportedly told a Pakatan Harapan rally in October that Malaysia was being led by a prime minister who came from “Bugis pirates”.
His remark triggered outrage from the Johor Palace, Bugis community and associations in Malaysia and some parts in Indonesia.
Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah also expressed outrage over Dr Mahathir's remarks in an interview with The Star.
On Nov 2, the Selangor Royal Court released a statement saying that the sultan was enraged and disappointed with Dr Mahathir’s speech and urged the police to investigate the Pakatan Harapan chairman for allegedly inciting hatred towards the community.