Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he has not changed his position on Dr Zakir Naik, as the Indian Muslim preacher is investigated over recent controversial remarks.
“At this moment, there is no change,” he told reporters after attending a gathering with civil servants today.
However, he wants police to continue investigating the Indian national for his controversial speech in Kota Baru, Kelantan which had spiked racial tension in the country.
“I don’t know who gave him his permanent resident status but he should stay out of politics. He can preach, he can spread Islam and we are not going to stop him.
“But he must not talk about politics. Asking the Chinese and Indians to go back is political. Clearly, he is stirring up racial sentiments…let the police investigate.
“In Malaysia, we have rule of law and we will put that into practice,” Dr Mahathir said last Sunday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Last week, Mahathir said the government will revoke preacher Zakir’s permanent resident status if his actions are found to be detrimental to the well-being of the country.
Zakir recently caused an outcry when he questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Mahathir and was later quoted as saying that the Chinese community in Malaysia were also considered to be “guests” in the country.
Police have since summoned Zakir to record his statement after more than 100 police reports were lodged against him.
The Indian government is again pushing for an Interpol red notice against the controversial preacher as its next measure to bring him back to the country.
Zakir is wanted by Indian authorities who are seeking his extradition to face charges of money laundering in his home country.
However, Putrajaya has so far resisted India’s request with Mahathir questioning whether Zakir would receive a fair trial.
Zakir, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia, has denied the charges against him although he says he is prepared to face them.
However, he wants assurance from New Delhi that he will not be arrested until he is found guilty.
Today, Zakir is at Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, this time over the reports he filed against four politicians and a former ambassador for allegedly defaming him.