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Dr M fears losing Muslim votes? – MCA on his 'third finger salute'

Published:  |  Modified:

Is Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad afraid of losing Muslim votes if he greenlights controversial preacher Zakir Naik's deportation, asked MCA.

“It defies logic that Mahathir is showing his third finger salute to international conventions by refusing to deport Zakir despite a formal extradition request from India.. coupled with Zakir's Indian passport having been cancelled,” said the party's religious harmony bureau deputy chairperson Ng Chok Sin in a statement this afternoon.

He also asked if the prime minister was taking the votes of non-Muslims for granted with regard to his stand on this matter.

The previous government had given the Indian-born Zakir a Malaysian permanent resident status, which had drawn objections from MCA and MIC in the past.

Yesterday, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy reminded Mahathir that the people voted for Pakatan Harapan in the May 9 general election to correct the wrongs of BN.

According to the DAP leader, giving Zakir permanent residence was one such mistake, which needs to be rectified.

Ramasamy had also urged Mahathir to respect the extradition agreement signed between Malaysia and India in 2010.

Meanwhile, Ng warned that if Zakir, who has been accused of making hate speeches, is allowed to preach as he pleased, it could inflame the masses in Malaysia.

“Zakir's presence in Malaysia is a source of discomfort among multiracial Malaysians.

“As Malaysians proudly voted for Harapan as Malaysian citizens rather than along racial lines, Mahathir must heed public opinion that this tele-evangelist is a divisive figure who is unhealthy for multiracial Malaysia,” he said.

Yesterday, Mahathir reiterated that Zakir, who has denied the allegations against him, would not be deported and stressed that Putrajaya would not bow to pressure.

In a statement this morning, Zakir expressed gratitude for Mahathir's stand and claimed his image had been tarnished by a group of "religious fanatics".

“An unbiased observer would realise that never in my 25 years of lecturing on Islam and peace have I ever promoted terror, in the name of Islam or otherwise.

“In fact, not a single lecture, out of the thousands that I have delivered, has ever received objections from non-Muslims in India until in September 2012, when a group of religious fanatics sought to tarnish my image. My aim has always been to foster communal peace and harmony - the exact opposite of the accusations hurled at me,” he said.

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