KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — The government should repatriate India-born Dr Zakir Naik to his home country, former minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim tweeted today.
The Bersatu supreme council member noted the interracial and interreligious divisions within Malaysia over the Islamic preacher’s reported remarks and said it was a powder keg the country did not need.
“Prior to Zakir Naik staying here, we were all living in harmony. Now, he has ruffled the Hindus with comments denigrating them.
“Zakir is playing a dangerous role as an instigator. It would be best that he be returned to India. Because of him, the relationship between Malaysia and India is grim. We have a lot of other work to do,” Rais posted on his Twitter account.
Despite being from the same party, Rais’ remarks are a departure from those of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who has said the government will not deport Dr Zakir.
While appearing reluctant to keep the provocative preacher in Malaysia where he is a permanent resident, Dr Mahathir said his government cannot send him back to India to face money laundering and terror-related charges for fear of his life.
Rais’ tweets today against Dr Zakir echoes the sentiments of other members of the Pakatan Harapan coalition members, including several ministers.
The Mumbai-born Islamic evangelist triggered a firestorm nationwide following reports of his lecture in Kelantan last Saturday.
He was reported to have alleged that Indian Malaysians were more loyal to the Modi government of India than Malaysia, but later claimed his remarks were taken out of context.