PUTRAJAYA: Investigations into Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Bugis remarks are leaning towards sedition, intimidation as well as breach of a multimedia provision in making a statement that incites hatred, his lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said today.
Haniff said he was informed by police that the case was being probed under the Sedition Act 1948, Section 504 of the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
He said 32 questions were asked during the 45-minute session, 22 on merit and 10 procedural.
“Dr Mahathir cooperated and answered the questions to the best of his abilities. The other questions, he will exercise his right to answer them in court.
“Whichever provision it is, it boils down to the same thing – what he said and what he intended.
“He has already explained. These things you don’t have to investigate like you are probing a murder, robbery or rape case.
“It is straightforward. If you honestly believe there is a crime, charge him, but don’t make a drama out of it,” he told reporters after Mahathir’s statement was recorded today.
Six policemen, including four officers, were present at the Perdana Leadership Foundation to record Mahathir’s statement.
Haniff also led a team of three other lawyers to sit in at the session.
He said the basis of the investigation would be up to the police to decide.
“As far as we are concerned, Tun (Mahathir) has made his statement on the Bugis issue. He has also explained again after that.
“Dr Mahathir also emphasised that the statement on the Bugis was addressed only to one person – Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“We have cooperated with the police. If the police deem there is something for him to answer in court, then he will of course answer in court.
“He is willing to answer in court the charges levelled at him, but until that is done, the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers have to decide what is right and wrong,” he said.
Haniff said the former prime minister was not concerned or perturbed over the possibility that he might be charged.
“What is important is if they wish to charge, then do so. Don’t come and take the time of the old man. This is the fifth time his statement is being recorded,” he said.
On a previous news report saying that police were coming today to record Mahathir’s statement on Bank Negara Malaysia’s forex losses, Haniff said there was some misunderstanding.
He told reporters they had initially been informed that police would come today concerning the police report lodged on the forex losses, but were told today that the investigation was only on the Bugis remarks.
“The inspector-general of police said that investigations into the Bugis jibe were ongoing and that Dr Mahathir will be called later.
“Today, we came and suddenly found out that investigations are on the Bugis issue, not the forex losses.
“We do not know when police will come to take his statement on the forex losses, whether it is tonight or tomorrow. But I hope they will inform us,” he added.
Mahathir, addressing the “Love Malaysia, End Kleptocracy” rally at Padang Timur on Oct 14, had called Najib a “descendant of Bugis pirates”.
Following criticism by the Bugis Malay Solidarity Association of Malaysia, Mahathir denied any intention to insult all members of the Bugis community.
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla had called on Mahathir to apologise for his comments, saying the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman had insulted not only the Bugis community in Malaysia, but also that in Indonesia.
The Selangor royal court also expressed unhappiness over Mahathir’s comments, saying he had compared the Bugis to pirates, criminals and robbers.
Mahathir’s remarks were also alleged to have insulted the genealogy and ancestry of the Selangor sultanate as its lineage is Bugis.
Mahathir has remained steadfast that he never insulted the Bugis or Jusuf Kalla. He maintains he had only referred to Najib, not the entire community.