In Cabinet meeting, DAP ministers ask PM to deport Zakir Naik

The Mumbai-born Islamic evangelist triggered a firestorm nationwide following reports of his lecture in Kelantan last Saturday. — Bernama pic
The Mumbai-born Islamic evangelist triggered a firestorm nationwide following reports of his lecture in Kelantan last Saturday. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Two DAP ministers today called for action to be taken against Dr Zakir Naik.

In a joint statement, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said they have bluntly asked Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to deport the controversial Mumbai-born Muslim preacher.

“We have raised with the prime minister and the Cabinet this morning.

“The issue of the presence of Zakir Naik in Malaysia and the recent event held by him in Kota Baru over the weekend and other statements he has made which has caused controversy.

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

The two Cabinet members said the prime minister took note of their concerns and that they would leave it to him to consider the position and decide on a solution.

Just last night, the prime minister indicated that the government is unlikely to repatriate Dr Zakir home to face money laundering charges and where he is also accused of “inspiring terrorism” as he runs the risk of being killed.

However, Dr Mahathir said he is open to the idea of sending the fugitive to any other country, following renewed backlash against the preacher for his remarks against Indian Malaysians.

Despite the leniency accorded to the preacher, Gobind and Kulasegaran said Dr Zakir is now seen to have violated the government’s trust after he reportedly questioned the loyalty of ethnic Indians, whom he claimed to be more supportive of Indian President Narendra Modi than they are of Dr Mahathir.

Gobind and Kulasegaran also said many of Dr Zakir’s speeches were found to be inflammatory, and that minority communities have long called for the authorities to apprehend the preacher.

“We therefore express our objections to Zakir Naik in the meanwhile holding any further events here in Malaysia or making further statements which impact on race relations and public order,” the two ministers said.

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 at a bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh that ended with 29 dead.

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