KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Several politicians from the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition are unfazed and stand ready to be investigated, following India-born fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik’s complaint to the police of being defamed.
Bagan Dalam state assemblyman Satees Muniandy, who is one of the five individuals named in the police report, said he would not be fleeing the country — unlike Dr Zakir who is currently on the run from several charges in India.
“Anyway, this is a free country. Anyone can make a police report. Police can investigate, and charge me, if there’s a crime element in my statement.
“But I won’t run to India or some other country, and hide behind Modi or others, to play victim. We will face the law in our motherland. Unlike the person who lodged the report,” he told Malay Mail when contacted, referring to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
Dr Zakir, who is a permanent resident in Malaysia, has insisted on staying here instead of returning to India to face money-laundering charges in court there, and has lobbied for support from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In response to the police report over alleged defamation of Dr Zakir, Satees pointed out that Dr Zakir’s speech is available as a video clip on social media.
“Anyone who have watched the video are saying that it’s insult. Plain and simple. What else is there for us to ‘manipulate to his disadvantage’, as he claims in his report,” Satees said, asserting that the controversial remarks attributed to Dr Zakir over the ethnic Indians and ethnic Chinese in Malaysia are contained in the speech itself.
Shortly before noon today, Dr Zakir had in Shah Alam lodged his police report against Satees and four others, accusing them of defaming him following his August 8 speech in Kelantan.
Dr Zakir also appeared to accused the five of purportedly instigating racial disharmony and hatred in Malaysia when saying his police report was to facilitate police investigations under the Penal Code and Sedition Act.
He has, however, been criticised over his alleged provocative remarks in Kelantan regarding the local minority communities, and is under police investigation under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.
Dr Zakir was previously reported to have allegedly claimed that the local Indian community were more loyal to India’s prime minister Narendra Modi over Malaysia’s prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and to have allegedly said Chinese Malaysians were “old guests” who should go back to their ancestral lands before he is made to leave Malaysia. Dr Zakir has since defended himself amid anger over his alleged remarks.
When contacted, Klang MP Charles Santiago — another of those named by the former — expressed his readiness to be probed.
“Dr Zakir Naik has every right to lodge the police report. Let the police investigate and I will fully co-operate with the investigations. And I will prove that I did not misquote Dr Zakir.
“I am a Malaysian citizen and an elected representative. I acted in the interest of the nation, its people, our racial unity and national security,” he told Malay Mail.
Also named in today’s police report, Penang deputy chief minister II P. Ramasamy told Malay Mail that Dr Zakir can go ahead and lodge more police reports or even send a legal notice to him.
“I’m prepared to meet him in court or anywhere,” he said, adding that the police is welcome to investigate him and that he also wants the police to investigate police reports said to be number more than 100 against Dr Zakir.
“There are already 100 over reports against Zakir Naik in this country and if he wants to make a report against me, he can go and make as many police reports as he wants, because I want the Malaysian government to deport Zakir Naik immediately,” he said, alleging Dr Zakir to be a “fraud” and “trickster” who creates animosity and problems here.
Ramasamy questioned how Dr Zakir’s alleged remarks regarding local Indians and Chinese could be tolerated and how he could claim to have been defamed.
“He should go back to India to face the Indian justice system...He is not fit to be in this country, he’s a troublemaker... He should leave the country immediately,” he said.
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran who was also named in Dr Zakir’s police report is now in Japan for a working visit (August 15 to August 19). Malay Mail has requested for comments.
Malay Mail has also contacted former ambassador Datuk Dennis Ignatius, who was also named in the police report.
Among other things, Dennis has said he will fully cooperate with any police investigations if there is one and has also highlighted that many others had spoken out against Dr Zakir.