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Zakir Naik has overstayed his welcome

  • For decades, extremists and nationalists have used Malay and Muslim sentiments to instill fear in the population. Now foreigners have joined the fray. Photo courtesy: Malay Mail

By Mariam Mokhtar

What hold does Zakir Naik have over the authorities? His latest inflammatory remarks against non-Malay Malaysians is cause for concern. We have laws about disrupting the peace, but Zakir appears to be immune from prosecution. Such is his reach of influence, that his wife, son and daughter will hold various talks, in Perlis. The impotence of the authorities to censure this foreigner, is worrying.

There is no doubt, that Zakir poses a huge risk to our national security, so why is prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad reluctant to deport him? We have home grown terrorists to de-radicalize, and we do not need someone, who has allegedly been a prime motivator for terrorism activities, to influence naive or impressionable minds.

Zakir is a threat and Mahathir knows it. So is there a hidden political motive? The bedrock of Malaysian politics is race and religion (the two Rs), and Zakir is a convenient political tool, for unscrupulous people, to cling to power.

Disgraced Najib Abdul Razak found Zakir a convenient person to whip up Muslim support for his regime. Sadly, Mahathir has fallen for the same tactic. It appears that successive PMs are prepared to sacrifice the goodwill of this multicultural and multi-faith nation for the sake of political power. This is not why we voted Pakatan Harapan (PH) in GE-14.

Zakir claims to be a learned person, but frequently gets facts wrong. He is also alleged to have used companies as a front for funding terrorists.

Zakir knows that he is on a winning streak. So far, very few Muslim, Malaysian politicians have demanded his deportation. Non-Malay politicians have been vocal about his incendiary talks and voiced their concerns to Mahathir. Some Malays have been vocal on social media, but the majority of Malays, are either too scared to share their views about him, or believe that he is no threat to the nation.

The Indian national is in self-imposed exile in Malaysia and is wanted in his own country for money laundering. He has been banned from several countries for his hate filled speeches, and his extremist views have inspired terrorists to engage on a killing spree, in Dhaka.

Zakir has been allowed to roam freely in Malaysia and is feted by the PM, the Minister for Islamic affairs, Dr Mujahid Rawa, the ulamas and the PAS government. Why? The previous Umno-Baru/BN administration, under Najib, granted him permanent residency and yet thousands of Malaysians, born in this country, remain stateless.

His recent attacks on Malaysians of Indian extraction and his call for Malaysians with Chinese ancestry to return to their homeland, is not acceptable. These Malaysians were born here. Their ancestors came to Malaya and laid the foundations for the trading, agricultural, manufacturing and mining sectors. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice, defending the nation during the Malayan Emergency and Sukarno's Indonesian Konfrontasi.

The Muslim leaders in both PAS and Umno-Baru, who champion Malay and Muslim superiority, are defending the radical preacher. They have placed no importance on the goodwill of Muslims who can see the threat posed by Zakir, or the non-Muslims, who are the target of Zakir's hate-speeches.

PAS' Nik Abduh Nik Aziz said that Muslims who want Zakir deported are sinners and hypocrites, whilst non-Muslims were branded traitors and the enemies of Islam.

These are serious charges and the Home Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin must act swiftly. PAS president, Hadi Awang said that over a million PAS supporters are ready to defend Zakir.

The most feeble excuse has been given by PKR, who said that they would await the return of their president, Anwar Ibrahim, from Mecca, where he has been the past few weeks. The world is connected by the internet and smartphone. The party should learn to delegate, and if PKR cannot see the importance of stopping Zakir's meddling in internal affairs, then how are they going to regain our trust and confidence in their ability to lead the nation?

Politicians from both sides of the political divide understand that the social fabric of our nation is at stake, because of one outlaw from India. It is time to look after the interests of Malaysians and kick troublemakers out of the country. We should not kowtow to extremists and we must stop those who want to fan the flames of hatred.

Zakir's permanent resident status should be revoked, and he should be deported before the thin veneer of racial and religious harmony in Malaysia, suffers another serious setback.

While the authorities appear to take too long to punish Zakir, confidence in the PH government will be eroded. PH was elected to restore trust in our democracy. For decades, extremists and nationalists have used Malay and Muslim sentiments to instill fear in the population. Now foreigners have joined the fray.


1. Malay Mail: Home Minister: Citizen or not, action to be taken against those disrupting harmony, public order
2. Malay Mail: Nik Abduh: Non-Muslims trying to kick Zakir Naik out are ‘enemies’
3. Malay Mail: Hadi: Solidarity with Muslims above fellow citizens, ‘one million’ PAS members back Zakir Naik
4. Malay Mail: PKR stand on Zakir Naik after Anwar’s return from Haj, says party sec-gen

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)


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