Two DAP ministers and one PKR minister today called for action to be taken against Dr Zakir Naik.
In a joint statement, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran and Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said they have bluntly asked Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to deport the controversial Mumbai-born Muslim preacher.
“We have raised with the prime minister and the Cabinet this morning.
“The issue of the presence of Zakir Naik in Malaysia and the recent event held by him in Kota Baru over the weekend and other statements he has made which has caused controversy.
“We have expressed our position which is that action must be taken and that Zakir Naik should no longer be allowed to remain in Malaysia,” Kulasegaran and Gobind said.
The two Cabinet members said the prime minister took note of their concerns and that they would leave it to him to consider the position and decide on a solution.
Just last night, the prime minister indicated that the government is unlikely to repatriate Zakir home to face money laundering charges and where he is also accused of “inspiring terrorism” as he runs the risk of being killed.
However, Dr Mahathir said he is open to the idea of sending the fugitive to any other country, following renewed backlash against the preacher for his remarks against Indian Malaysians.
Despite the leniency accorded to the preacher, Gobind and Kulasegaran said Zakir is now seen to have violated the government’s trust after he reportedly questioned the loyalty of ethnic Indians, whom he claimed to be more supportive of Indian President Narendra Modi than they are of Dr Mahathir.
Gobind and Kulasegaran also said many of Zakir’s speeches were found to be inflammatory, and that minority communities have long called for the authorities to apprehend the preacher.
“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,” the two ministers said.
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar raised many of the same points as his DAP colleagues, adding that Zakir should not be allowed to make seditious remarks.
“This country has always maintained its peace and values through tolerance and well-being amongst its various races and religions. We are, after all, a multiracial country.
“We do not need such individuals to issue seditious statements with the intent to drive the wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia,” he said.