Malaysiakini NEWS

More doors close on Zakir Naik

Published:  |  Modified:

The number of states where preacher Dr Zakir Naik is free to speak is reducing, following the controversy over his recent speaking engagement in Kelantan.

So far, officials in charge of Islamic affairs in Kedah, Malacca, Selangor and Penang have stated they will not allow Zakir to speak in their territories.

According to The Star, this has been confirmed by Malacca Chief Minister Adly Zahari, Kedah exco in charge of religious affairs Ismail Salleh, Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) chairperson Mohammed Khusrin Munawi and Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman.

Islamic preachers in all territories must obtain permission to deliver sermons from state authorities. However, other state enforcement agencies can play a factor as well.

Zakir and his family were stopped from delivering speeches in Perlis over the weekend on advice from the police.

The preacher has been barred from entering Sarawak, which has control over its borders, for several years.

State officials from Perak, Johor and Sabah said there is no blanket ban on Zakir's speaking events, but will scrutinise applications.

Meanwhile, Terengganu police chief Aidi Ismail said any events featuring Zakir in the state should be temporarily postponed, citing public order.

"I advise the state government or any organisers to cancel programmes featuring Zakir for the time being," he said.

Zakir sought refuge in Malaysia after being pursued by authorities in his home country of India on money laundering charges, among others. The previous BN administration had granted him permanent residency.

His recent speaking event on Aug 8 in Kelantan courted flak after he suggested that Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to the Indian prime minister than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also suggested that the Chinese community were "old guests" in Malaysia and should leave before asking "new guests" like him to leave.

Zakir is being investigated by the police over these remarks.

Mahathir said yesterday that the preacher had involved himself in "racial politics" and that he should not because he was a permanent resident.

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