Recently NDTV cited a undisclosed Malaysian Government source that the controversial preacher Zakir Naik was on his way to India after Malaysia decided to deport him. This time they are quoting a Malaysian lawmaker.
This time the Indian TV network said there are sections within Malaysia who think he should be deported immediately.
NDTV spoke to opposition lawmaker Jeffrey Kitingan who has been campaigning for Zakir Naik’s immediate return to India without success.
Kitingan is a Sarawak based politician and he argued that Zakir was not welcomed in Malaysia.
He told NDTV that there are ‘fears’ in Malaysia that Zakir’s speeches would create hatred amongst Malaysians of various faith.
However many in Malaysia see such comments as baseless, while a certain community and some news portals are portraying the preacher as a troublemaker.
Nevertheless, the Malaysian government should not bow to pressure to deport Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as it has considered various factors including the law, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We are not always obliged to follow the will of others. We have to identify the reasons we respond to any pressure, whether or not he (Zakir) had adhered to the laws.
“Or else, someone will become a victim,” he said yesterday.
The Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has also urged the government to deport Zakir to his home country to ensure that bilateral ties between Malaysia and India would not be affected.
Dr Mahathir clearly dismissed such fears.
NDTV was first to report that Zakir was being bundled-up by the police for deportation to India, causing an outcry in social media forums among Muslims in several countries.
Dr Mahathir doused the outcry last week by saying the preacher was not being deported and was allowed to stay in Malaysia.
Zakir was given full immunity under the previous government and was seen as a political tool used by ex-PM Najib Razak to rally support from the majority community in Malaysia the Malay-Muslims.
Zakir made a misstep however when he called upon Muslims not to vote ‘an opposition led by non-Muslims because if they come to power it will be difficult for the Muslims in Malaysia.”
However, Zakir has thanked the Malaysian government and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for allowing him to stay here and for examining his case from an “unbiased perspective”.
He said the decision reaffirmed his faith in Malaysia’s justice and communal harmony, adding that this is a testimony to the success of the multiracial diversity of the country.
“I am humbled to be a part of this diversity, and I also acknowledge the sensitivities it entails.
“I would never wish to disrupt or jeopardise this balance in any way or to break the rule of law of this country because it is my primary concern to foster the social harmony currently enjoyed by its citizens,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (July 10).
The statement clearly goes against what appeared to be a speech against Dr Mahathir and the Pakatan Haparan made by Zakir earlier this year.