YOURSAY | ‘Those in the pro-Zakir camp are not the sharpest tools in the shed.’
Cunning Lingam: It turns out that controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik will be an utterly pointless lightning rod for the future of Malaysia’s soul.
He brings no value to leaders here – I doubt any have ever gotten through one of his nonsensical talks – except to function as a symbol of their religious credentials.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy is right to call for his deportation. Where he is wrong is biting the AK-47 and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) bait.
The pro-Zakir camp knows exactly where Ramasamy’s sympathies lie – and that the LTTE to Ramasamy is his own symbolic lightning rod for his own target audience – and they’re wasting no time hitting him where it hurts.
The DAP leader made the error of allowing himself to be photographed bowing his head in front of a picture of an assault rifle. Surely, he should know better. Whatever his intent was, isn’t the first rule of politics always optics?
The best thing he can do now is let other Pakatan Harapan leaders – preferably from all ethnic groups – continue the fight in calling for Zakir’s deportation. Baffle them, keep shifting the target. Don’t just stand there and soak up the punches.
Those in the pro-Zakir camp are not the sharpest tools in the shed (or else they wouldn’t be pro-Zakir). Ramasamy and Harapan should wise up and realise that fighting this stupidity with stupidity is, well, stupidity in itself.
Semenanjung: Ramasamy bowing in front of that AK-47 assault rifle is in honour and in remembrance of the fallen Tamil Tigers in a ceremony called Maaveerar Naal or Great Heroes’ Day.
Khalid Gibran: The police should investigate, and if that ends up going nowhere, Ramasamy should sue the Facebook users who uploaded the false claims.
Kamaapo: The European Union removed LTTE from its list of terrorist organisations some time ago.
In any case, it's very subjective for one to view a particular organisation fighting for liberation or self-determination as a terrorist group. After all, one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.
How does PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan view the Bosnian, Acehnese struggles in the past, and the ongoing one in Palestine? Terrorists too?
I view them as freedom fighters. Nasrudin would concur, surely. What about the struggles in East Timor and South Sudan?
So it’s just a matter of selective empathy. Humanity should transcend religious biases to grasp an inclusive worldview and compassion. If LTTE’s Velupillai Prabhakaran was a terrorist, then what about George Washington, José Rizal, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Sukarno and Nelson Mandela?
If Ramasamy, who tried to contribute to peace negotiations in the Sri Lankan conflict, is supporting terror, then what is Norway, who actively tried to contribute as an active negotiator in the conflict? A terrorist state?
However, Ramasamy as a Harapan leader should convey his opinions on Zakir in a more subtle fashion.
Zakir, I feel, was an asset for Umno leaders in terms of unethical political expediency. But now keeping him here is turning out to be more trouble than he is worth, and a real dilemma for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Anonymous_a0e6f552: If attending a meeting to broker peace between two warring parties is tantamount to terror, what about those attending peace negotiations around the world? Can we say they are wrong too and we need to call in the police? What inanity.
Roger 5201: No, attending a peace talk is not a crime. Money laundering and inciting terror are, however.
A crime is a crime, and one can sense the people’s frustration building over a certain leader's reluctance to deport the caustic Zakir while being obsessed over a national car.
No Faham: Sue the Facebook users for defamation. Also, it is high time the police stop functioning as a political tool as they have been in the past 10 years, so much so that they had no time to investigate actual crimes.
Quigonbond: I disagree with what the new minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy has said here.
Ramasamy and Zakir can have a debate, but it’s up to the Information Department to consider the importance of the debate and to grant airtime. As it is potentially sensitive, it’ll probably be not live but can be a recorded programme.
In fact, RTM should do more to promote high-quality debate in an ongoing debate series. It doesn’t always have to be about politics, race or religion.
We need to start talking, both in and outside Parliament, about everything - our education system, our economy and Malaysia’s place as a cultural centre. The debates can be done in such a way that it is moderated and possibly curated but not censored.
It will encourage public participation and if such a show gains quality and traction, it can even be a source of reference by policymakers.
Legit: There is no need to debate with a fugitive. It is public knowledge now that the Indian government has made a request for Zakir’s extradition. The Malaysian government should respect that and surrender this fugitive back to India to face charges.
It is unwise to wait for the preacher to break the law in this country before action is taken against him. It is not only the responsibility of the Indian ministers in the cabinet but also every other lawmaker to do the right thing and act according to the law.
Please do not skirt around the issue for fear of some Muslim extremists in the country.
Straight Talk: Waythamoorthy says, "We are talking about a united Malaysia." Good. Does this united Malaysia need an extremist like Zakir in its midst? In what way keeping him around will help unite Malaysians?
Can Zakir contribute to the country in any shape or form other than spewing venomous hate speech aimed at creating divisions in our multiracial and multi-religious country?
It is utterly disappointing that the Indian ministers in the Harapan government – including Waythamoorthy, who kept screaming that Zakir should be deported – seem to have lost their spine so soon after being appointed to office.
Are their principles, beliefs and commitment gone with the wind?
Anonymous: Waythamoorthy is a lawyer. Why is he skirting and avoiding the legal issue here? He should have just said Malaysia needs to adhere to the extradition agreement with India. Why is this so difficult to assert?
He cannot be a ‘mandor’ just hours into his new job.
Anonymous_1528124975: It is good that any pending Indian- or Hinduism-related issues are thrown at Waythamoorthy. It is at least an acknowledgement of the role he played in the past. But why the same people who are condemning Waythamoorthy sparing other Indian Harapan leaders?
Waythamoorthy did say the right thing in this instance. There is no place in this country to ridicule any religion. People must understand that the right to revoke Zakir’s PR (permanent resident status) rests not with Waythamoorthy but the Home Ministry.
And since the home minister is on sick leave and Mahathir is in charge, people should aim their criticisms in the right direction.
Quo Vadis: “The reason for the debate, as far as I am concerned, doesn't make sense. So we should just leave it.” Well said, minister.
Let us get down to the tremendous tasks and challenges ahead of us. The battle has been won, the revolution begins.
Put in place, institutionalise what makes for lasting unity and harmony of all peoples in this country. Incapacitate the troublemakers according to the rule of law, which the Harapan government has promised unambiguously and unequivocally to uphold.
Don’t waste time debating, scoring brownie points, thumping chests, polishing egos. Ramasamy is right in not entertaining the Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin suggestion for a debate. It will only promote divisiveness.
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