Zakir Naik to be quizzed by Malaysian authorities for hate speech, PM Mahathir unhappy
Zakir Naik has been summoned for a second time by Malaysian authorities after his alleged racial remarks against Hindus and Chinese, hours after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told the controversial Indian televangelist that he is not allowed to participate in political activities in the country.
The official Bernama news agency reported on Monday that Naik, wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, has been called for the second time to have his statement recorded at Bukit Aman, The Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Zakir is scheduled to arrive at Bukit Aman to resume giving his statement under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, according to CID director Huzir Mohamed.
The 53-year-old preacher, who is a permanent resident in Muslim-majority Malaysia, had his statement recorded for the first time on August 16, the report said. Naik is alleged to have made controversial remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Malaysian Chinese during a talk in Kota Baru on August 3, prompting calls for him to be deported to India.
Responding to calls for his deportation from Malaysia by suggesting Malaysian Chinese should leave the country first as they were "old guests."
He also said that ethnic Hindus in Malaysia enjoyed "100 times more rights" than Muslims in India and that they believed in the Indian government more than the Malaysian one, media reports said.
Reacting to Naik's controversial comments, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir on Sunday said it was "quite clear" that Naik wanted to participate in racial politics.
"He is stirring up racial feelings. The police will have to investigate whether it is causing tension; obviously, it is," he said.
Mahathir added that as a permanent resident, Naik was not allowed to participate in politics.
"You can preach (religiously). But he wasn't doing that," he said.
"He was talking about Chinese going back to China and Indians going back to India. I have never said such things. But he did. That is politics," the annoyed Malaysian prime minister said.
Meanwhile, more Malaysian provinces have banned Naik from making public speeches. On Monday, Melaka became the latest state to ban his speeches.
Naik has been banned from speaking in Melaka, said the Malaysian state's Chief Minister Adly Zahari. Adly said the state government wants to avoids any issue that could strain ties between races, the Star reported on Monday.
“We want to maintain this. So we decided not to allow Mr Naik to hold talks or gatherings here," he was quoted as saying.
Last week, the northern state of Perlis banned him from speaking at an event, following public uproar over racially insensitive remarks which he had made.
Naik has already been banned from the Malaysian states of Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Sarawak.