KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik has been temporarily banned from speaking on all platforms including in social media, Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said today.
Abdul Hamid told state news agency Bernama that the ban will be upheld until the investigation against the fugitive preacher is completed.
“A directive has been issued by police whereby Zakir is prohibited from making any further speeches after the episode in Kelantan recently, which is aimed at giving us time to complete investigations relating to reports lodged on that episode.
“With this directive, all state police chiefs are responsible to advise any parties having plans to invite Zakir to give public lectures not to do so,” he reportedly told Bernama.
Malay Mail had reported earlier today that authorities have barred Dr Zakir from delivering public talks in all states in Malaysia, in the interest of national security.
Malay Mail previously received a tip-off on the existence of a circular detailing the order, to all police contingents nationwide.
The IGP said Dr Zakir’s recent lecture in Kelantan had caused public uneasiness and confusion, and the police require time to get to the bottom of the case.
“We will get the facts on what actually transpired,” he was quoted as saying.
He also clarified that the directive will be temporary, and was issued to keep the peace.
“It was a fair directive to keep a calm situation, it is temporary, and if things are still messy, the directive will stay,” he reportedly said.
“It is clear that we don’t want these religious lectures, forums to include political issues. It is inappropriate for religious lectures to include political issues, whether local or international.”
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.