By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |
Two ministers have made it plain and clear that Dr Zakir Naik, an Indian-born preacher who has made Malaysia his present base, should no longer be allowed a free reign as his speeches have allegedly disrupted inter-racial and inter-religious harmony.
In a joint statement, federal ministers Gobind Singh Deo and M Kula Segaran said action must be taken and that Zakir Naik should no longer be allowed to remain in Malaysia.
“The Prime Minister has taken note of our concerns. We leave it to him to consider the position and to decide soonest possible what will be done to deal with the problem,” they said in the statement released at Gobind’s Facebook page.
In the most recent speech, the controversial speaker is said to have claimed that Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed despite receiving “100 times” more rights than Muslims in India.
Zakir, who is wanted by Indian authorities over money laundering in his home country, has since tried to distance himself from those remarks in the lecture in Kelantan, a state on the east coast of Penisular Malaysia.
Instead, he has accused his critics of quoting him out of context, according to one media portal.
In their statement, the ministers said that they had raised with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet this morning (14 Aug 2019).
“We also reiterate the concerns raised by many over speeches and statements of his which have been inflammatory in nature. We therefore express our objections to Zakir Naik in the meanwhile holding any further events here in Malaysia or making further statements which impact on race relations and public order,” they added.
Gobind is the Malaysia’s communications and multimedia minister while Kula is the
human resources minister. Both are form DAP, one of the four political parties that make up for Pakatan Harapan that formed the Government in a surprise election victory in March 2018 polls.
This is the second time in a week that Gobind had to wade into the highly charged religious-laden debate in Malaysian politics.
On 9 Aug, he had to come forward to clarify DAP’s stand on a religious conversion matter in the state of Selangor, where he heads the state party.
DAP Selangor had then reiterated its stand that any Bill that was unconstitutional should not be tabled in the Selangor state assembly.
Gobind said that the Bill to allow unilateral religious conversion of minor children with the consent of just one parent was not discussed in the Pakatan Harapan meeting on Thursday (Aug 8).
“The question of it (possibly) being tabled again was never discussed in the meeting so it doesn’t arise,” he was quoted in a report in The Star.
On Thursday (Aug 8) night, Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin had said that the Bill allowing for unilateral religious conversion could still be tabled at the next state legislative assembly.
Amirudin had reportedly said that at present, only Selangor, Penang and Sabah still have a differing interpretation of laws related to the conversion of minors. He said that was among the reasons the state wanted to standardise it, the newspaper reported.
Gobind said that the Federal Court, in the M. Indira Gandhi case, had clearly explained that consent must be obtained from both parents before a minor is converted.
Malaysian interfaith leaders first meeting with Dr Mahathir as comeback PM (Asia Samachar, 11 Jan 2019)
Malaysian interfaith council welcomes minister’s statement that no unilateral conversion allowed (Asia Samachar, 3 Sept 2016)