KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Tan Sri Abd Rahim Noor has joined the calls by several leaders to have fugitive preacher Dr Zakir Naik deported back to India.
The former Inspector-General of Police also urged Dr Zakir's permanent residency (PR) status to be revoked over what the controversial preacher has done in his home country, The Star reported.
“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had commented that the government will consider rescinding his PR status if it is proven that he has committed criminal offences.
“Based on this statement, it looks like we must wait for the outcome of the investigation. However, my personal view is that he touched on religion and other matters that hurt the feelings of non-Muslims in the country, especially the Hindus. We should not wait for the outcome of the investigation.
“With solid evidence of what he said in Kelantan and what he did in India, I urge the government to revoke Zakir’s PR status and hand him over to the Indian government and let him face the laws there, ” The Star reported Abd Rahim as saying.
Abd Rahim said he was aware of the disagreement by certain parties with his view, and asked those who are defending Dr Zakir to first question why, despite there being so many Islamic leaders in India, only Dr Zakir faces legal troubles.
“There must be something that he did in his home country that is against the law as he was put on the wanted list by Indian authorities.
“We don’t need foreigners to come here and use religion to incite chaos and trouble.
“Do we need these type of people? To me, it is a big no,” Abd Rahim said, adding that he does not see any political ramifications for the government or even Opposition quarters, if the medical doctor turned preacher is deported.
Abd Rahim also took the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government to task, questioning how Dr Zakir was granted his PR status in 2015, which he claims was almost immediate, when the usual process takes years.
“I find it strange that the then government approved his arrival in Malaysia and subsequently granted him PR,” he said.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir yesterday said that Dr Zakir had overstepped the line when he told ethnic Chinese to “go back” and questioned the loyalty of Malaysian-Indians in two separate instances, calling the Mumbai-born preacher’s words incendiary.
The Langkawi MP also said Dr Zakir had transgressed his privilege as a foreigner with PR status by issuing political statements, and that he backs police investigation against the Indian fugitive.
Dr Zakir provoked the full wrath of a government that was otherwise seen as sympathetic towards the popular evangelist when he was said to have questioned the loyalty of Malaysian-Indians at a talk delivered in Kelantan weeks ago.
Shortly after, the defiant preacher issued a statement aimed at the Malaysian-Chinese, reportedly saying that they should “go back” first, since they too are seen as “guests” like himself, amid heightened calls to deport him.
Dr Zakir said the assertion was made in response to the community’s demand that he be deported back to India, where the preacher is facing charges for alleged money laundering and terrorism link.
He is now facing police investigation under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace after 115 public complaints were filed against him.