GOMBAK, Aug 26 — Nobody in Malaysia may act unlawfully without legal repercussions, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
The minister said this included preachers such as Dr Zakir Naik, whom he said is still being investigated for over a hundred reports against him for incitement.
While acknowledging that Muslims view Dr Zakir as a respected Islamic scholar and feel obligated to defend him, he said the latter will still be investigated for touching upon sensitive issues.
“We are aware of Zakir’s statements causing discomfort, hence why it is important to ensure justice.
“No one is above the law. Certainly not citizens, much less a permanent resident, even one as respected for his knowledge as Zakir,” Muhyiddin said at a press conference after launching the International Seminar on Religious Values in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, at the International Islamic University.
The minister said he is awaiting a full report on the police investigations.
He added that discussion on whether Dr Zakir should be deported or otherwise will not affect police investigations.
“It is not up to the police to decide on deporting him since it is not in their purview and instead falls under specific laws.
“Malaysian law does not obligate us to send someone back to their home country upon request from its government. If we feel there is a legitimate concern, we may not do so,” Muhyiddin said.
When asked if pictures of Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman with the preacher suggested Dr Zakir was enjoying political protection, Muhyiddin said the former only represented himself in the matter.
“His actions do not speak for the government or the party. Many have met with Zakir, so it is nothing unusual.
“Whatever the case, it will not disrupt the ongoing investigations,” said Muhyiddin, who is also Bersatu’s president.
Dr Zakir has undergone two sessions of questioning and statement-recording at the national police headquarters in Bukit Aman in the past two weeks, over the reports lodged against him as well as reports he made against certain political figures whom he claimed have defamed or slandered him.