PETALING JAYA: The calls to deport Dr Zakir Naik has reached a new level, with two more politicians and a social activist demanding action against the controversial Islamic preacher.
However, he is not without support. An Umno leader has chastised those who are opposed to Zakir’s presence in Malaysia.
Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said the permanent residence (PR) status granted to Zakir and his son should be revoked immediately.
In a statement issued today, she pointed out that acquiring PR status and citizenship was an arduous and time-consuming process for most people.
“However, some have it easy. Zakir seems to be among a few persons favoured by the Barisan Nasional that granted him the PR status,“ she said.
She likened him to Ragad al Kurdi, the wife of the Yang di-Pertua Negri of Sarawak, Tun Taib Mahmud, whom she said was granted Malaysian citizenship “in record speed”. Ragad is from Syria.
Kasthuri, who is also DAP Wanita international secretary, urged the Home Ministry to revoke Zakir’s PR status and send him back to India to face money laundering charges.
Zakir is accused of acquiring £21 million (RM106 billion) worth of assets amassed through criminal activities.
India has failed three times to get him extradited to face charges in his home country.
Kasthuri said Zakir’s inflammatory speeches had incited hatred and lack of tolerance for faiths other than Islam. “He is belittling and insulting our freedom of religion,“ she said.
She said the government could either send him back to India or any of the 15 countries that are prepared to offer him citizenship.
Social activist Marina Mahathir also expressed her displeasure over Zakir’s remarks. In a tweet, she said “That’s rather a lot of my family ... who are you to tell us that?” in reference to the Indian and Chinese communities.
In George Town, a PKR leader has demanded an apology from Zakir for his outburst about race relations in Malaysia.
Permatang Pauh PKR deputy chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said Zakir had tainted the harmony shared by the various communities in Malaysia.
“This is unethical of a man who is seeking protection in our country,“ he said.
Afif, who is also a state executive councillor in Penang and a former PKR Youth leader, wants Zakir to apologise to all Malaysians and to stop all activities that could disrupt the harmony in Malaysia.
“As a guest in this country, he should show respect for the multiracial community in this country,“ he added.
However, in defence of Zakir, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa insisted that his speech allegedly questioning the loyalty of the Indian and Chinese communities, had been taken out of context.
In a series of tweets, Annuar claimed that he had heard Zakir’s full speech last Thursday and was even at the venue where the speech was delivered the following day.
“Do not twist the full statement. Do not lie,“ he added in response to a call by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to send Zakir out of the country.