Zakir Naik's lawyers serve defamation suit notice to three DAP men

Zakir said he is seeking compensation and damage claims from the three lawmakers. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Zakir said he is seeking compensation and damage claims from the three lawmakers. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Controversial India-born preacher Dr Zakir Naik has filed a defamation suit against three DAP men, including Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran over their remarks that allegedly opened him to public ridicule and portray him a threat to Malaysia’s national security.

Lawyer for the Islamist preacher Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader confirmed that notice has been served on the three defendents: Kulasegaran, Klang MP Charles Santiago and Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy.

“Satees has a lawyer, whom we emailed the notice. Another copy was also couriered to him. As for Kulasegaran, he was served today,” Akberdin told Malay Mail today when contacted.

Charles confirmed receiving the notice yesterday, adding that his lawyers are currently studying its content for the next course of action.

In the court filings sighted by Malay Mail, Dr Zakir said he is seeking compensation and damage claims from the three lawmakers, as well as a court injunction prohibiting them from publishing and distributing four defamatory news articles in any medium.

The preacher also demanded an apology be issued and published in the newspapers and online news portals within seven days from when the notice was served.

The notices claimed the respondents made remarks about Zakir that were malicious, spurious and defamatory. 

These include that he is a criminal, a fugitive, that his stay in Malaysia tarnishes the country’s good name and reputation, that Zakir enjoyed more rights and privileges from the government than Malaysian Indians, that he is involved in money-laundering and illegal activities, and that he is dishonest in propagating the teachings of Islam.

The notices assert that Dr Zakir is an international preacher and lecturer on comparative religion in the past two decades and was the winner of the Islamic Personality of 2013 award and the 2015 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam, among other accomplishments.

Kulasegaran, who is also DAP national vice-chairman, is being sued over his comments carried in an article by Free Malaysia Today published on April 17, 2017, in which he urged the government to not take sides by protecting Dr Zakir from the Indian authorities as it leaves the impression that a fugitive is better protected than Malaysian Indians.

A press statement by Kulasegaran via his ministry dated August 13 this year, in which he referred to Dr Zakir’s presence as an embarrassment to all Malaysians, was also cited in the 61-page notice.

Satees, who is also DAP Youth international secretary, is being sued over an article published by Malaysiakini on August 12 this year, in which he said the preacher should be deported from Malaysia for suggesting that Malaysian Indians are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Another article by Free Malaysia Today published on November 5, in which Satees blamed Dr Zakir’s presence for the recent police crackdown on suspected Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathisers was also cited in the 56-page notice.

Santiago is being sued over a media statement posted on his Facebook page on August 13 this year, in which he urged the Cabinet to discuss Dr Zakir’s meddling in Malaysian politics, which was reported by three other media organisations including Malay Mail.

The Klang MP is also being sued for a talk he gave in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 in which Santiago claimed criticism of Dr Zakir may have resulted in the LTTE crackdown.

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