KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Melaka police today confirmed that controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik is free to attend a congregational prayer and worship this Saturday despite being banned from public speaking events in the state.
State police chief Datuk Raja Sharom Raja Abdullah said approval was given after the prayer organiser gave an assurance that the Mumbai-born televangelist will not make any speeches or sermons.
“I was informed by YB Mohd Rafiq that he invited him to the Cina Kerubong mosque to partake in the congregational prayers together with him, without any public speeches being made,” Raja Sharom told Malay Mail when contacted.
The event called Malam Bersama Bersatu Bersama Dr Zakir Naik (A night together with Bersatu with Dr Zakir Naik) is slated to take place this Saturday between 6.30pm and 9.30pm at the Cina Krubong mosque in Melaka.
Invitations of the event depict Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) supreme council member Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen alongside Dr Zakir for the communal prayer session.
Last month, Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari gave a statewide directive banning Dr Zakir from speaking publicly in Melaka, following nationwide controversy sparked by the preacher’s speeches and sermons during an event in Kelantan in the August.
Raja Sharom said any event organiser who wants Dr Zakir to make a religious speech in Melaka would first need to request approval from the state mufti’s office.
“If it concerns religious speeches, approval would have to come from the Melaka mufti’s office, which I believe would be rejected after taking into account the recent decision by the Melaka chief minister.
“Due to the fact there would be no speeches being delivered and his attendance is merely to join in the congregational prayers, the police will not intervene and allow it to take place,” he added, referring to Dr Zakir.
The popular preacher Dr Zakir, who is wanted by India to face money laundering and terror-related charges recently, drew flak locally over remarks made during his public talk in Kelantan, allegedly for inciting racial tensions among Malaysians.
Federal police had also given nationwide orders to its state police chiefs banning Dr Zakir from delivering public talks, saying it was done in the interest of national security.
They are also currently investigating the preacher, having summoned him twice to record statements after at least 115 police reports were lodged against the India-born with Malaysian permanent residency.