Former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz urged Malaysians not to allow themselves to be pitted against one another on account of India-born preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
She warned of a looming recession and said the country should be preparing for this instead.
“I only want to ask – why are Malaysians going against each other on the account of some foreigner who is being sought after by his own country?” she was quoted as saying in a report by Malaysiakini.
She was commenting on several ministers’ call for the prime minister to deport the preacher to India where he is wanted for money laundering and hate speech.
“Why are some of us still so vulnerable to have our minds being subverted in so many ways seemingly in the name of religion?
“We must not allow extraneous, irrelevant matters cloud our minds and divert our attention from the real issues at hand,” she said further in the report.
The former minister said Malaysians have their own issues to contend with, which have direct relevance to the future of the nation and younger generation.
Rafidah also pointed out there are laws which can be resorted to and the country of origin should prevail in this context.
She reminded that Malaysia is also seeking the return of certain fugitives to bring them to justice.
“I urge Malaysians not to allow extraneous matters to cause fractiousness amongst us and no one should try to make political capital out of such an issue,” she added.