Minister says letting Zakir Naik stay after alleged incitement sets bad example for Malaysia

Dr Xavier is the latest minister to lobby for the deportation of the controversial Muslim preacher. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Dr Xavier is the latest minister to lobby for the deportation of the controversial Muslim preacher. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar joined others in pressing Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to immediately deport controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

In a media statement today, Xavier said allowing Dr Zakir to stay in the country after the latter questioned the local Indian community’s loyalty to the prime minister would cause communal friction.

“If we continue to ignore such statements and allow him to continue his ways in this country, I am afraid that this would lead to bad precedents as well as potential racial and religious division.

“Having raised the matter with my fellow colleagues in the Cabinet, this morning, I along with others have expressed our stance that action against him must be taken and that Dr (Zakir) Naik should not be allowed to remain in the country. The prime minister has noted the concerns that were raised and will consider our position in his decision-making process.

“After all his presence in the country was on the condition that he did not stir up racially charged statements. In Kota Bharu however, he has clearly crossed that line,” he said.

Earlier today, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said they also asked Dr Mahathir to deport Dr Zakir, during this week’s Cabinet meeting

In a joint statement today, both ministers who are from the DAP accused Dr Zakir of making inflammatory remarks against minorities here.