Ministers demand action against preacher’s controversial remarks

Attack against our Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters is an attack against all Malaysians, says youth and sports minister


FEDERAL ministers have demanded for action to be taken against Indian-born preacher, Dr Zakir Naik, for his controversial speech during a recent event in Kota Baru, Kelantan.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran said they have expressed their position during the Cabinet meeting yesterday that Dr Zakir should no longer be allowed to remain in the country.

“We have raised to the prime minister (PM) and the Cabinet this morning the issue of the presence of Dr Zakir in Malaysia and the recent event held by him in Kota Baru over the weekend and other statements he made which have caused controversy,” they said in a joint statement.

“We have expressed our position which is action must be taken and that Dr Zakir should no longer be allowed to remain in Malaysia.”

The ministers added that PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has taken note of their concerns.

“We leave it to him (PM) to consider the position and to decide soonest possible what will be done to deal with the problem.”

Dr Zakir was reported to have compared the Hindus in Malaysia versus Muslims in India, stating that the local Hindus enjoy over 100% more rights in Malaysia compared to his home country, resulting in backlash from many parties.

At the same event, he was also reported to have said the Chinese should go back as they were “the old guests” and “old guests should be asked to go back before the new guest”, in reference to comments made for him to return to India.

Meanwhile, Minister in the PM’s Office P Waytha Moorthy urged the local Indian community to remain calm and trust the police’s investigation on the issue.

“I urge the Malaysian Indian community to remain calm and have confidence that the police force would conduct their investigation in a fair and just manner as an independent arm of our democratic process to ascertain whether the freedom given to Dr Zakir has transgressed the laws of the country,” Waytha Moorthy said in a statement yesterday.

“We have lived peacefully for more than six decades since independence, and the consultative and consensus nature of the public stakeholders have always prevailed to ensure that the harmonious growth of the social cohesion within our multiracial community stays paramount,” he said.

Waytha Moorthy added that there has been “so much emotional and convoluted feelings” over the last few days in the non-Muslim community due to the Islamic preacher’s remarks.

“I feel most Malaysians are protective of their race and religion which is totally acceptable as long as it is not used to create uneasiness by crossing boundaries that can destroy the social fabric of our multiracial and multireligious country,” he said.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the attack against the Chinese and Indian is akin to an attack against all Malaysians.

“An attack against our Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters is an attack against all Malaysians,” Syed Saddiq said.

“It’s ridiculous to even think that my fellow Malaysians are my ‘tetamu’ (guests),” he said, adding that “enough is enough”.

Dr Zakir, in response, said the controversy was caused by groups that do not like him and wrongly quoting him out of context to not only politicise him, but also create religious disharmony within the community.

“Recordings of my talks will reveal that the reality is the opposite of what is being alleged,” he said.

“The allegations are based on out of context statements, deliberate misquotations and even complete fabrications intended to malign me for (their) political agenda,” Dr Zakir said.