PETALING JAYA: A possible mispronunciation of the Malay word “maruah” (dignity) by Anwar Ibrahim during banter with fellow Pakatan Harapan leaders Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Mohamad Sabu this week has led some to question if the PKR chief was deliberately mocking a recent gathering of Malay leaders in Shah Alam.
A short video clip of the conversation has been making the rounds on social media, drawing a response from Mahathir’s political secretary Zahid Md Arip.
“(Mispronouncing) one letter could lead to problems,” Zahid said, before giving an explicit example of how a Malay word could be mispronounced.
In the clip, Anwar is heard jokingly telling Mohamad, the Amanah president, that Mahathir had become more spirited after attending the Malay Dignity Congress.
The Malay word “maruah” was however heard as “barua”, a derogatory Malay expression which means “pimp”, usually used in a political context.
Sunday’s Malay Dignity Congress, or Kongres Maruah Melayu, was jointly organised by Universiti Malaya, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Mara.
Mahathir attended the event despite calls for him to give it a miss. The prime minister later said that as a Malay, he had the right to attend the gathering, which also saw senior leaders from Amanah, PAS and Umno, as well as PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali attending.
Anwar later said he did not attend the gathering as the invitation came too late.
Zahid said Anwar’s mispronouciation could have been a careless mistake.
“I don’t think Anwar is that foolish and stupid. Maybe it was a mistake when he said the word ‘barua’,” he said in the recording sighted by FMT.