KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 ― MCA became the latest party today to question the controversial Dr Zakir Naik’s permanent residency (PR), pointing to his ability to cause uneasiness and discomfort among the multireligious and multiracial communities here.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) component also asked the Home Ministry to explain the award, especially when India’s National Investigation Agency court has just issued a non-bailable warrant against the televangelist for his alleged role in a terror case this week.
“The government must take note of this general sentiment of discomfort and uneasiness of a foreign televangelist like Dr Zakir who has no respect of our religious sensitivities in multiracial and multifaith Malaysia.
“The Government, especially the Home Ministry must also account as to why Dr Zakir was granted PR status and special consideration seeing that he is known for creating tension,” MCA’s Religious Bureau chairman Datuk Ti Lian Ker said in a statement.
Ti said the values of moderation, mutual understanding and respect are at risk with Dr Zakir’s presence here, especially amid the police’s counter-terrorism efforts.
“Malaysia has to be mindful not to acknowledge, nor accord special privileges, nor seen to be giving special treatment to preachers like Dr Zakir who is known to have such tendencies, who promotes religious differences in a diverse society like ours,” Ti added.
Other BN leaders such as Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing was also reported as saying that the Indian preachers is “dangerous”, echoing other local leaders there who rejected Dr Zakir’s presence.
Yesterday, MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam had said that Malaysia cannot permit the controversial preacher to use the country as a haven from a terrorism investigation simply because of his religious credentials.
Dr Zakir is a polarising personality in Malaysia, alternately held in esteem by some in the Muslim community and reviled by those of other faiths due to his provocative teachings.
The local Hindu community, in particular, remain aggrieved with the preacher owing to remarks he previously made regarding their faith.
The government this week confirmed Dr Zakir was made a permanent resident here five years ago. The revelation drew public criticism owing to ongoing investigations against him in India for promoting terrorism.
Nineteen activists, many of whom are from the Indian community, filed a lawsuit last month to compel the government to arrest and deport Dr Zakir.