Facing heat in Malaysia for his provocative speeches, controversial preacher Dr. Zakir Naik, on Monday demanded an apology from the Penang Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. P Ramasamy and three others. The preacher has also asked a settlement amount from them within two days and warned that he would file a defamation lawsuit if they fail to do so. The other three include the Klang MP,Mr. Charles Santiago, the Bagan Dalam assembly person,Mr. Satees Muniandy, and the former ambassador,Mr. Dennis J Ignatius.
This comes after two more Malaysian states banned the Islamic preacher from speaking in public. Malacca (or Melaka) and Kedah banned Dr. Naik from speaking in public and delivering his sermons after he was accused of inciting racial tension in the Muslim-majority country. A total of eight states - including Malacca, Kedah, Sabah, Penang, Perlis and Sarawak - have now imposed a ban on Dr. Naik from speaking publicly within their boundaries.
Last week, Dr. Naik had demanded an apology from the Malaysian Human Resources Minister, Mr. M Kulasegaran, and also threatened him with a defamation suit. The preacher had objected to Mr. Kulasegaran's press release titled 'Zakir Naik's presence in India is embarrassing to all Malaysians'. Dr. Naik's representative had explained, 'Kulasegaran had indicated that Zakir was leveraging and taking advantage of the current polemic related to race and religion in the country for his own survival and benefit at the expense of the Malaysian taxpayers, among others.
The defamatory statements were clearly actuated by malice, hatred, and spite.' Mr. Kulasegaran, however, snubbed Dr. Naik's defamation suit threat and said he was ready to face the preacher in court. The Islamic preacher, who is wanted in India for hate speech, has been granted permanent residency status by the Government of Malaysia. In June, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had made a formal request to the Malaysian government for the extradition of Naik. 'The Government of India has made a formal request for the extradition of Zakir Naik. We would continue to pursue the matter with Malaysia,' the MEA responded to the queries.
Earlier,the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, acknowledged that the preacher crossed boundaries and spoke on racial politics and warned of action against Dr. Naik saying he tried to incite racial tensions in the country. Commenting on Dr. Naik’s permanent resident status, the Malaysian leader said he was yet to find out who gave the PR status to the controversial preacher and added that those holding the status are not allowed to participate in politics.