PETALING JAYA: DAP’s P Ramasamy has questioned the prime minister’s lack of action against Dr Zakir Naik, a day after the controversial Indian preacher lodged a second police report against him accusing him of defamation.
Ramasamy, who is Penang deputy chief minister II, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lack of immediate action against Naik, who recently courted controversy over his statements on Malaysian Indians and Chinese, might give the impression that the preacher has some degree of immunity in the country.
“Naik, with his combative style of preaching, has hurt the feelings of non-Muslims, particularly the Hindus and Chinese,” he said.
“Malaysians have all kinds of differences that sometimes appear to be in conflict with each other, but in the post-independence period, even extremists have not really questioned the loyalty of Indians let alone accused them of being pro-India.
“Similarly, no extremists have questioned the loyalty of the Chinese, or gone to the extent of asking them to leave the country as they are considered ‘old guests’.”
Ramasamy was referring to remarks made by Naik in a recent series of public lectures in Kelantan.
Naik said Hindus in Malaysia have “100 times more rights” than the Muslim minority in India but that they support the prime minister of India more than the prime minister of Malaysia.
He was also quoted as saying that Chinese in Malaysia are considered “guests”, and should be asked to leave before he is.
His remarks sparked criticism from various quarters, including by Ramasamy, Klang MP Charles Santiago, DAP assemblyman Satees Muniandy, Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran and former ambassador Dennis Ignatius.
Naik subsequently lodged a police report against the five, who have stood by their criticism of the preacher. Yesterday, he lodged a second report against Ramasamy, accusing him of uttering defamatory words in an interview with Indian news channel India Today.
Putrajaya has so far resisted India’s request for the extradition of Naik, who faces charges of money laundering in his home country.
However, Mahathir said last week that the government would revoke Naik’s permanent resident status if his actions were found to be detrimental to the country’s well-being.
Yesterday, he said he had not changed his position on the matter.
In a statement, Ramasamy said Mahathir’s lack of immediate action against Naik was disappointing, adding that the prime minister had promised a new Malaysia for all, irrespective of race or religion.
However, he said Mahathir’s statement that Putrajaya would not deport Naik for now meant that the prime minister has not completely ruled out action against the preacher.
“Mahathir might think that arresting and deporting Naik might not endear himself to some sections of Muslims, in particular those supporters of Umno and PAS.
“But he should remember that he is the prime minister for all Malaysians not just for the Malays or non-Malays.
“I agree with Mahathir that police investigations must be done before action can be taken against Naik. But how long are we going to wait?”