Ramasamy: Zakir Naik’s speech on Chinese, Indians received ‘stinging reception’

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Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik received a stinging reception following a speech he gave in Kota Bharu three years ago, the High Court heard today.

Penang deputy chief minister II, P Ramasamy, said Naik’s comments provoked a strong and critical response from a large section of Malaysians.

“They continue to call for his deportation from Malaysia and to be banned from speaking publicly,” Ramasamy said in response to defamation suits filed by Naik, who is now a permanent resident here.

He said Naik’s comments on the Malaysian Chinese were widely covered and condemned by many quarters, including the media.

“The Star ran an article on Aug 14, 2019 with the headline ‘Zakir Naik plays pendatang card, says Chinese should go back before he does’,” Ramasamy added.

He said in labelling the Malaysian Chinese as “guests” and calling on them to “go back”, Naik considered them a “pendatang” community, a term which carried an underlying derogatory tone.

“Labelling another race in Malaysia, whether it be the Malays, Chinese or Indians, as ‘pendatang’ is taboo and is destructive and divisive.

“It also unfairly questions another rightful Malaysian citizen’s citizenship and loyalty,” he added.

Naik is also alleged to have said that Malaysian Hindus “support the prime minister of India but not the prime minister of Malaysia” and that they were “more Indian than Malaysian themselves”.

Ramasamy, in his defence, said such remarks by Naik had denigrated Malaysian Hindus and given the impression that they were disloyal Malaysian citizens, and that they were more loyal to the Indian national flag than the Jalur Gemilang.

Ramasamy said FMT, on Aug 11, 2019, had published his article “Naik should not question loyalty of Hindus in Malaysia” in response to the Kota Bharu speech.

“In this article, I said, among others, that Naik was wanted by the Indian authorities for money laundering and terrorism-related charges in India.

“I also expressed my disapproval of Naik’s concept of comparative religion as it involves belittling faiths other than Islam, and rebuked Naik’s comment on Malaysian Hindus and Indians,” he said.

Ramasamy is relying on the defence of justification, fair comment and qualified privilege to defeat Naik’s suits.

In October and December 2019, Naik filed two separate suits alleging that Ramasamy had issued five statements against him.

FMT

One of these is that Ramasamy had “manipulated” the Kota Bharu speech he had made at an event organised by the Kelantan government, which was also published by FMT.

Hearing before judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz continues. – FMT