The Royal Malaysia Police have barred Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik from speaking on all media, citing national security concerns.
The Head of Corporate Communications of the police force Asmawati Ahmad said the order was issued as programs involving Zakir may jeopardize the harmony of the multiracial country.
The Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador has also clarified that the ban includes social media and is applicable throughout the country until investigations involving the preacher are settled.
Earlier, seven states out of thirteen states have barred Zakir from speaking in public. They include Sarawak, Perlis, Kedah, Sabah, Malacca, Penang, and Selangor.
Zakir is facing a police investigation under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace, with over 100 police reports filed against him.
He has been summoned thrice to the police headquarters at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur to have his statement recorded.
The fugitive preacher from India, who is a permanent resident in Malaysia, is alleged to have made controversial remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese during a talk on August 3, in Kota Bharu, Kelantan – a stronghold of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). His remarks have triggered a public uproar and have prompted calls for him to be deported to India.
Zakir has apologized for what he deemed a “misunderstanding” of his recent remarks. However, he maintained that the remarks had been taken out of context.
P. Ramasamy, the Deputy Chief Minister II of the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led State Government of Penang, argued that PAS is using the firebrand preacher to drum up support from the Muslims while alienating the non-Muslims against the PH government.
Ramasamy highlighted the fact that PAS hosted the controversial preacher in Kota Bharu where Zakir allegedly made the incendiary speech against non-Muslims showed that PAS was manipulating the latter for political mileage.
“By using Naik to question the loyalty of non-Muslims, PAS has to some extent succeeded in angering the non-Muslims against the PH government,” Ramasamy analysed in a Facebook post. He further believed that Zakir was merely a “pawn” in PAS’ political game of religion and ethnicity.
Zakir is wanted by Indian authorities who are seeking his extradition to face charges of money laundering in his home country.
Despite that, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has reaffirmed his stand on not deporting the controversial Muslim preacher, at least for now.
Zakir Naik. Picture credit: Malay Mail