KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Authorities have now barred fugitive preacher Dr Zakir Naik from delivering public talks in all states in Malaysia.
This, said the police, was done in the interest of national security.
Malay Mail had previously received a tip-off on the existence of a circular detailing the order, to all police contingents nationwide.
Royal Malaysia Police Head of Corporate Communications Datuk Asmawati Ahmad confirmed the order when contacted by the Malay Mail.
"Yes. Such an order has been given to all police contingents, and this was done in the interest of national security and to preserve racial harmony,” she told Malay Mail last night.
The Star had on Sunday reported Melaka as joining six other states in barring Dr Zakir from publicly speaking. The six are Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak.
The Star reported that Kedah, Penang and Johor became the latest states to announce their objections to Dr Zakir’s religious talks due to his combative style of propagating Islam.
Johor Religious Islamic Department (JAIJ) director Datuk Md Rofiki A. Shamsudin reportedly said the body never gave the Indian approval to hold talks in the state.
“Any religious preacher must get the necessary approval from JAIJ before they are allowed to conduct religious talks. This is to ensure these preachers do not say anything against our creed or aqidah,” he was quoted saying.
Next to bar him was Penang, with Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman saying the state would not welcome Dr Zakir to its shores to speak at any public event, a decision made six months ago.
Ahmad was reported to have told the evangelist that the content of his speeches or views “would not be suitable for” the highly multiracial state.
“When Zakir visited us, we discussed several things, including his wish to have talks here in Penang.
“But we immediately told him that we felt whatever he wanted to talk about would not be suitable," he said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad 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