Zakir Naik stirring up racial sentiments despite ban on talking about politics: Mahathir (Updated)

18 Aug 2019 / 19:32 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik is trying to stir up racial sentiments in Malaysia, despite being forbidden to talk about politics.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Zakir can preach, but he was not allowed to talk about politics.

“Yet he’s now trying to play up racial politics. He told the Malays to ask the Chinese and Indians to go back (to China and India) if he is asked to leave.

“Even I have never touched on such issues but he is doing it,“ Mahathir said in reference to Zakir’s recent comments that the two communities were not loyal to Malaysia.

He added that it was up to the police to investigate and take action in accordance with the law if there was any wrongdoing.

At the opening the 62nd ISI World Statistics Congress today, Mahathir also said he did not know who gave Zakir permanent residence status.

On another matter, he said the government had taken heed of advice from experts and scientists before allowing Lynas Malaysia to continue operating in the country.

“However, there is a small group of people who are using alternative media to attack those who don’t agree with them on Lynas,“ he said.

“Should we listen to the experts or these people?

“The experts say the waste is not dangerous. But to avoid a huge concentration of it in one place, we have decided that it should be dispersed.”

Lynas operations involve processing ores to extract rare earth minerals, leaving what it says are low-level radioactive waste.

Mahathir said the waste could not be exported nor dumped into the sea as it would kill the fish.

He pointed out that the Lynas waste was not like the contamination of the 1986 Chernobyl incident in the former Soviet Union that became history’s worse nuclear disaster.

“We cannot simply ask Lynas to stop operating as we will lose credibility with international investors,“ he added.

On the current political situation, he said there were attempts to topple the government by comparing it with the previous Barisan Nasional regime.

He said the comparison was made by a highly-placed academic bent on attacking Pakatan Harapan and it was now being used by others.

He added the people still do not appreciate what the government has done for them, citing as an example, the decision to make khat optional.

“I don’t understand why. It’s optional (because) there might be some people who would want to take it up, they too must be given a choice.”

He said the government has continued to come under attack despite it not having a scandal on the scale of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Mahathir also hit out at former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak for “trying to make all kinds of assertions”.

He said the government would be debating the 1MDB issue in Parliament, something that would not have been allowed during Najib’s tenure.

email blast