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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — India-born fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik has demanded that four others apologise and offer a reasonable settlement within 48 hours or risk being sued for defamation.
The four are Penang deputy chief minister II P. Ramasamy, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, former ambassador Datuk Dennis Ignatius and Klang MP Charles Santiago.
The notices of demand dated today (August 19) were served by legal firm Akberdin & Co following Dr Zakir’s police report made against Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and the four last Friday.
Dr Zakir had in his police report said the five had wrongly quoted his August 8 remarks out of context, accusing them of twisting and manipulating his comments.
In the notice of demand to Ignatius, sighted by Malay Mail, Dr Zakir said he had made defamatory remarks in several articles entitled “Why empower a demagogue like Zakir Naik?” dated August 13, 2019, “Zakir Naik: Hypocrisy & double standards” dated June 18, 2019, “Zakir Naik and the radicalisation of Malaysia Baru” dated May 1, 2019 and “What’s so special about Zakir Naik?” dated July 12, 2018.
For Ramasamy, it said defamatory statements were found in an article entitled “Naik should not question loyalty of Hindus in Malaysia”.
Meanwhile, for Muniandy, defamatory statements were found in an article entitled “Lawmaker fumes after Zakir suggests Hindus here support Modi over Dr M” and for Charles, in a press release “Wednesday Cabinet Meeting Must Discuss Zakir Naik’s Meddling Into Politics” and later published as “Cabinet meeting must discuss Zakir Naik’s meddling in local politics”.
Earlier, Dr Zakir had in his police report claimed that he had instead praised Malaysia for its treatment of and for upholding the rights of the “Hindu minorities”.
Dr Zakir’s police report and letter of demand today come amid criticism over his alleged remarks about Malaysia’s minority communities, with the police yesterday confirming a total of 115 police reports lodged nationwide in relation to his case.
He was previously reported as having allegedly claimed that the local Indian community were more supportive of India’s Narendra Modi over Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but had since contested this.
In the letters of demand to the four, Dr Zakir via his lawyers demanded that all four admit liability, retract allegations made, immediately remove all alleged defamatory, untrue or false allegations, accusations and remarks against him from all social media and/or websites.
Dr Zakir also demanded that all four cease and desist from publishing and/or initiate publication of defamatory, untrue or false allegations, accusations and remarks against him.
Lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader, who is representing Dr Zakir in this matter, confirmed the authenticity of the documents when contacted by Malay Mail.
He confirmed that the letters of demand to the four were served either by e-mail and/or by hand today.
Dr Zakir is wanted in his birth country of India, which has previously requested his extradition from Malaysia for him to face money-laundering charges in the courts there.