KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today joined the call to deport controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik, following the latter’s reported inflammatory remarks against the Chinese and Indian communities.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief said by attacking the minority communities, the fugitive preacher has attacked the rest of the nation as well.
“Yes. An attack on our Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters is an attack against all Malaysians,” Syed Saddiq told reporters via his ministry’s official WhatsApp group for the media.
He was asked to comment if he agreed with calls by fellow ministers to deport the controversial televangelist, after the latter reportedly questioned the local Indian community’s loyalty, whom he claimed to be more supportive of Indian President Narendra Modi than they are of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Those who called for Dr Zakir’s deportation include Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh, Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran and Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister A. Xavier Jayakumar.
Malaysiakini reported Dr Zakir as having told the ethnic Chinese here to leave the country first, if he had to leave, labelling both the community and himself as “guests”.
Syed Saddiq slammed Dr Zakir for referring to the country’s non-Malay citizens as mere “guests”.
“It’s ridiculous to even think that my fellow Malaysians are my tetamu. They are my family for God’s sake. Enough is enough,” the Muar MP added, using the Malay reference for guest.
He later tweeted the same sentiment: “The strength of Malaysia is in the unity of its people. Enough of ridiculing our unity and loyalty.
“I know many Chinese and Indians who would die defending our beloved country,” he posted.
In May, the televangelist conceded that he is willing to face justice back in India, but only if he is not arrested there until he is tried in court and convicted.
Dr Zakir has been evading Indian authorities since 2016, when files were opened against him for allegedly making hate speeches and laundering money after five militants launched an attack on a bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh that ended with 29 dead.