Deputy minister: University's choice whether to host Zakir Naik

The poster for Zakir Naik's April 18, 2019 talk at Universiti Utara Malaysia in Kedah.
The poster for Zakir Naik's April 18, 2019 talk at Universiti Utara Malaysia in Kedah.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said it is Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) prerogative to decide if it should permit controversial Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik to give a talk there.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament building, she said her ministry’s stance was to allow universities to make their own determination in such matters.

“They need to answer that firstly, it is after all part of their (right to) autonomy,” Teo said when declining to further comment on the matter.

A flyer for the event circulating online recently asserted that Zakir is set to give a three-hour talk titled “Duty of A Muslim As A Professional” on April 18 at the Mu’azdam Shah Hall in UUM’s Changlun campus in Kedah.

The event appears to be organised by the One Centre group, in collaboration with five other Islamic NGOs.

The preacher, a Malaysian permanent resident and Saudi citizen, has been accused in the past of denigrating other faiths and being a threat to Malaysia’s multiethnic and multicultural harmony.

He is wanted by India’s police on charges of money laundering and hate speech.