PAS chief calls for ‘rational discussion' on Zakir Naik

Abdul Hadi said Dr Zakir's Permanent Resident status should be upheld and defended by the government. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Abdul Hadi said Dr Zakir's Permanent Resident status should be upheld and defended by the government. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang today called for rational discussion that is based on the respect of national unity and safety for all, especially when talking about issues surrounding controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

In a Facebook posting today, Hadi urged all stakeholders, including Dr Zakir, to respect the principles of rational discussion in order to diffuse tensions in the country.

“First, the culture of debate and dialogue is a space for democracy that needs to be respected.

“All parties must be prepared to face and discuss factually and wisely, in search of truth and togetherness,” he said.

Hadi also urged national broadcaster RTM and respective state governments to provide a space for dialogue on the matter, like how the Kelantan state government has allowed Dr Zakir to deliver his talks.

Hadi also pointed out the importance for all stakeholders to preserve national unity and even suggested that investigations be launched against media practitioners and politicians who were supposedly responsible for provoking racial and religious tension.

“All parties are responsible for maintaining the sensitivity of the various races and religions in the country.

“Investigations should also be made against political leaders and media practitioners who are the ‘pests’ that have caused this sense of anxiety,’’ he said adding that PAS has always been committed to defending racial unity in the country and is open to dialogue with all parties on the principle of truth.

Hadi also explained that the Permanent Resident (PR) status given to Dr Zakir is a human right and should be upheld and defended by the government.

“The Permanent Resident status (PR) that is given to Dr Zakir Naik is a human right that is recognised by the world and civilised nations.

“This right of security is also an assurance of Islam to those who are endangered, even to non-Muslims. The government and related agencies under the Ministry of Home Affairs must be firm on providing this security,’’ 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.

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