KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 ― Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam should refrain from commenting on Indian Muslim televangelist Dr Zakir Naik’s Malaysian permanent residency (PR) as it is beyond his jurisdiction, PAS asserted today.
The Islamist party also warned the MIC president against simply make any remarks involving Islam and Muslims, claiming that Dr Zakir was awarded PR for his professional credentials and expertise.
“Surely this process involves various ministries and agencies such as Home Ministry, the police, National Registration Department, Immigration and others,” PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan said in a statement.
Nasrudin also claimed that Dr Subramaniam had linked the Indian preacher to terrorism and religious tensions without proof, despite Dr Zakir’s wanted status in India and several bans against him for those reasons in several countries.
“As someone who is the health minister, getting involved in this matter it is not under the jurisdiction of Dr Subramaniam,” Nasrudin said.
Dr Subramaniam had yesterday 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.
The MIC president and health minister called the Muslim preacher an “agent provocateur” who will become a divisive presence in multicultural and multi-religious Malaysia.
Dr Subramaniam on Wednesday said Malaysia did not have space for a person such as Dr Zakir, and today made his message more emphatic still, pointing out the preacher was persona non grata in countries such as Bangladesh, Canada and the United Kingdom.
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.