Dr Zakir Naik ‘divisive’, no apologies for seeking his removal, says ex-envoy

Dennis was one of five individuals singled out by Dr Zakir in his police report earlier today in Shah Alam. — Picture courtesy of Dennis Ignatius
Dennis was one of five individuals singled out by Dr Zakir in his police report earlier today in Shah Alam. — Picture courtesy of Dennis Ignatius

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 ― India-born fugitive Dr Zakir Naik has been a “divisive” figure and needs to be removed from Malaysia, former Malaysian ambassador Datuk Dennis Ignatius said today.

Dennis pointed out that he has long stood by his view of Dr Zakir being divisive, after the televangelist lodged a police report against him and four others for purportedly defaming the latter.

“As a citizen and columnist, I have every right to express my opinion on issues of national interests. Having served my country as a diplomat and ambassador for over 36 years, I also feel compelled to continue to defend our great nation and speak out on issues that affect the unity, peace and harmony of our nation.

“I consider Zakir Naik’s speeches and statements, going back a few years now, to be disruptive and divisive and have said so. And on that basis, I have also joined with others in urging the government of Malaysia to deport him. I cannot apologise for that,” the former diplomat told Malay Mail when contacted for comments on Dr Zakir’s police report.

Dennis noted that many others had similarly voiced out against Dr Zakir.

“I might add that I am not alone in my views ― several ministers, former ministers, politicians and thousands of ordinary citizens from across all Malaysia’s ethnic and religious groups have also spoken out against him. Indeed, there are currently more than 100 police reports against him.

“Even the prime minister was recently quoted as saying, “We will need to take action to prevent him from making such speeches, which pit the races against each other. Sarawak has also reiterated its entry ban on him for the same reasons. I am not sure if he plans to file police reports against them all as well,” he said.

“Of course, as a citizen, I will fully cooperate with any police investigation should there be one,” he added.

Dennis was one of five individuals singled out by Dr Zakir in his police report earlier today in Shah Alam.

The four others named by Dr Zakir are minister M. Kulasegaran, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy and Klang MP Charles Santiago.

Kulasegaran is currently in Japan on a work visit until August 19, while the rest have indicated readiness to assist the police if investigations are conducted over Dr Zakir’s report.

Satees had even remarked that he would not be running away to another country or “play victim” and would face the law in his home country “unlike the person who lodged the report”, alluding to Dr Zakir, who has resisted returning to India to face money-laundering charges there.

In his police report earlier today, Dr Zakir police that the five had allegedly made defamatory statements against him through social media or websites after his August 8 speech in Kota Baru, Kelantan, and listed the links to these alleged remarks.

Dr Zakir claimed that the five had wrongly quoted his August 8 remarks out of context, accusing them of twisting and manipulating his comments to accuse him of creating communal disharmony.

Dr Zakir said he was lodging the report to enable the police to launch an investigation against the five under laws such as the Penal Code and Sedition Act for allegedly defaming him and for purportedly “instigating racial disharmony and hatred among the citizens of Malaysia”.

Dr Zakir’s police report today comes amid criticism over his alleged controversial remarks about Malaysia’s minority communities, with the police yesterday confirming a total of 115 police reports lodged nationwide in relation to his case.

Yesterday, the police confirmed that an investigation against Dr Zakir has been launched under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

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