KUCHING: Three Pakatan Harapan ministers have told the Cabinet that they wanted controversial preacher Zakir Naik out of Malaysia, a news report said.
MalaysiaKini reported today that this was expressed by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran and Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar at the Cabinet meeting today.
Gobind and Kulasegaran said in a joint press statement after the meeting: “We have expressed our position which is that action must be taken and that Zakir Naik should no longer be allowed to remain in Malaysia.
“The prime minister has taken note of our concerns. We leave it to him to consider the position and to decide soonest possible what will be done to deal with the problem.”
They said that in the interim, Zakir should no longer be allowed to hold any more events.
“We also reiterate the concerns raised by many over speeches and statements of his which have been inflammatory in nature.
“We, therefore, express our objections to Zakir Naik, in the meanwhile, holding any further events here in Malaysia or making further statements which impact on race relations and public order,” they said.
They had cited comments made by Zakir during his ceramah in Kelantan last week where he suggested that Hindu Malaysians were more supportive of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi than Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The preacher later said his comment was taken out of context and that he was speaking in the context of Hindu Malaysians supporting Modi to have him extradited, instead of Mahathir who has defended him.
Zakir had also said if he is to be sent out of the country, so should the Chinese who are “old guests” in Malaysia.
MalaysiaKini said Dr Xavier raised many of the same points as his DAP colleagues, adding that Zakir should not be allowed to make seditious remarks.
“This country has always maintained its peace and values through tolerance and well-being amongst its various races and religions. We are, after all, a multiracial country.
“We do not need such individuals to issue seditious statements with the intent to drive the wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia,” he said.
He warned that if Zakir’s remarks are ignored, it would set a bad precedent and could potentially divide the people along racial and religious lines.
On Monday, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang urged the authorities to review Zakir’s permanent resident status over his remarks allegedly inciting racial and religious tension in Malaysia, a Malay Mail report said.
He said the remarks in Kelantan over the weekend portrayed the local Indian community as ungrateful to the prime minister despite the benefits they enjoy.
Zakir is wanted in his home country of India on charges of money laundering and he has been accused of inciting extremism.