As police continue their investigations into Zakir Naik, many senior officers at Bukit Aman feel that the controversial preacher is “poison” to the country’s multiracial society.
Those whom The Malaysian Insight spoke to, though not directly involved in the probe, expressed disgust that Zakir has been given “preferential treatment” despite being a threat to national unity.
They questioned why the Mumbai-born televangelist is still allowed to be in Malaysia and was accorded special treatment, including the use of police outriders for his events.
These cops said they are glad that Zakir is finally being investigated for his racially tinged speech in Kota Baru, Kelantan earlier this month, adding that they hope for a quick decision to send him back to his home country to face trial there.
Indian authorities have accused the preacher of supporting terrorism and money-laundering, charges that he has repeatedly denied.
An officer with the rank of assistant commissioner (ACP) said Zakir has been inconsiderate and insensitive to Malaysia’s multiracial and multireligious population.
“In his talks, he likes to compare religions, and this has caused major concerns among Malaysians.
“Our local preachers do not do such a thing. In fact, Islam prohibits us from demeaning others and their faiths.”
The ACP described Zakir’s speeches as “poisonous” and have the potential to cause a rift among Malaysians.
A superintendent said he, as an enforcement officer, is uneasy with how Zakir is escaping the law in India.
“He is such a religious man, someone who is so faithful to Islam. God will surely assist him in facing whatever charges he faces in India.
“It appears as though Zakir is using the name of Islam to save himself, and we seem to be abetting him.”
Despite New Delhi’s requests for Zakir to be extradited, Putrajaya is refusing to send him back, saying the preacher, who holds permanent resident status in Malaysia, may not get a fair trial in India.
The superintendent is also enraged that Zakir has been accorded special privileges here, especially the police outriders assigned to him during his Kota Baru trip.
“Who is he? A state leader? A statesman? Why must we provide him with police outriders? Are local preachers accorded similar treatment?
“We need not give him special privileges. He is, after all, just a PR holder here with a dubious background.”
Another ACP revealed that many police officers feel the same towards Zakir.
“Action must be taken against anyone who disrupts our harmony and peace. Zakir must be sent back to India to face charges.
“If he is proven to be innocent, he can always come back to Malaysia.
“We sacrifice ourselves for the people and nation. We want peace and unity among our citizens.”
He said if Zakir wants to stay in Malaysia, he should not stir up trouble and racial tensions.
“Religion is a subjective and sensitive issue. He should not use it to spark tensions here.
“We police are ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of our nation, and we will not tolerate anyone who plays with fire.”
Zakir is under investigation for provocation. In his Kota Baru speech, he allegedly said Indians here are more supportive of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than their own Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He also allegedly described Malaysia’s Chinese as “guests” in the country, and said they should be sent back to China before he is deported.
More than 500 police reports have been lodged against him over the remarks, with ministers from DAP and PKR urging Dr Mahathir to send Zakir back to India.
The preacher has been banned from giving speeches nationwide, with Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin saying Zakir is not above the law and action will be taken against him pending the police probe.
Zakir, meanwhile, has hit back at four politicians and a former ambassador for allegedly defaming him after they criticised his contentious speech. He sent notices of demand to the five to retract their statements and issue an apology on social media.
The five are Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, Klang MP Charles Santiago, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran and former ambassador Dennis J Ignatius. Besides Ignatius, the others are from DAP.
Zakir is being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code for insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, and has been questioned twice at the federal police headquarters. His second session with police lasted almost 10 hours. – TMI