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GEORGE TOWN, Aug 21 — Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy today said PAS is using fugitive preacher Dr Zakir Naik to gather support from the Muslims while alienating the non-Muslims against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
He said the fact that PAS hosted the controversial preacher in Kota Baru where Dr Zakir allegedly made the controversial speech against non-Muslims showed that PAS was using him for political mileage.
“By using Naik to question the loyalty of non-Muslims, PAS has to some extent succeeded in angering the non-Muslims against the PH government,” he said in a Facebook post.
Ramasamy said PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has now come to Dr Zakir’s rescue by appealing for rational discussion based on the respect of national unity and safety for all.
“If Hadi wanted he could have advised Naik to keep his lectures to Islam and not venture into the domain of domestic politics by belittling and disparaging the Indians and Chinese in the country,” he pointed out.
When contacted, the Penang lawmaker told Malay Mail that it was obvious that the preacher was also ingratiating himself to PAS and Muslim PH leaders in the country.
“He (Naik) is trying to please Umno, PAS and now PH Muslim leaders to prolong his stay here,” he said.
Yesterday Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abd Rahman and Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Mohd Nor both voiced their support for Dr Zakir by stating that he was not an extremist.
Ramasamy said Muslims would have a different perception of Dr Zakir as the preacher only aimed his hostility against non-Muslims.
“It was the non-Muslims who bore the brunt of his hostility, not the Muslims, so I respect Zakiyuddin and the mufti’s views about the preacher,” he said.
He added that both of them were also firm on their stand that Dr Zakir was not suitable to speak in Penang which was a good thing.
Ramasamy said if Dr Zakir was truly a religious preacher who only talked about Islam, then he would not have accused Indian Malaysians of being disloyal to the PH government and tell the Chinese Malaysians to go back to China.
“I can say 85 per cent of the Indians in the country supported PH in the last general election so his accusations were baseless,” he said.
Ramasamy added that the permanent residency given to Dr Zakir cannot be “over stretched” to the point of labelling it as an act of human rights.
“It was extended to him by the former government of BN and in particular Umno for political reasons. It has nothing to do with human rights,” he claimed.
He said if Umno and PAS could come together for political reasons, then it would stand to reason that PAS had decided to embrace “ethnic nationalism” under the cover of Islamic ideology for the sake of its political goals.
“PAS’ moves lately to demonise the DAP as the main source of evil in the country indicates among other things that party has decided to experiment with ethnic politics as a survival mechanism in the arena of Malaysian politics,” he said.
He believed that Dr Zakir was merely a “pawn” in PAS’ political game of religion and ethnicity.
As for Dr Zakir’s apology yesterday, Ramasamy said it was not genuine.
“It was not sincere, he basically claimed his speech was misconstrued. I personally went through his speech a few times, what he said about the Indian Malaysians were so clear unless he is saying I can’t understand his Indian accent English,” he said.
He added that if Dr Zakir was speaking strictly about Islam, he would not have any objections against him speaking anywhere.
He said even the preacher’s disciples, who were new converts, were using Islam as a platform to attack the non-Muslims and other races.
“They’ve forgotten their own roots and are attacking their own ethnic groups using the Islam platform... there is nothing wrong about converting to Islam but don’t use this as a pedestal to attack non-Muslims and other ethnic groups,” he said.