Anwar agrees with Dr M, says no need to deport Dr Zakir Naik

Yiswaree Palansamy
Anwar said that he supports the decision to allow the medical doctor turned preacher to continue staying here, since investigations against him are still ongoing. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said that he agrees with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision to allow India-born fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik to remain in Malaysia.

Anwar said that he supports the decision to allow the medical doctor turned preacher to continue staying here, since investigations against him are still ongoing, Berita Harian reported. 

He also added that Dr Zakir did not knowingly offend the Indian and Chinese communities.

“If we were to see his (Dr Zakir’s) statement, he seems consistent, he is quite provocative and in the discussions on religions, maybe a little offensive. But I don’t think he deliberately wanted to insult or question the position of the Chinese or Indians.

“The problem is if he speaks and it would create tension that has already been settled. Therefore, I don’t think this has to be linked to the call to have him deported to India.

“So I support that he remain in Malaysia, especially since investigations against him are ongoing,” Anwar was quoted telling reporters during a press conference in Kuala Terengganu.

He said that he had urged Dr Zakir to avoid from becoming the political fodder of certain quarters.

On Friday night, the organiser of a planned rally to protest against the controversial preacher announced that the event, originally slated to be held yesterday, had been cancelled.

Organiser Shankar Ganesh said this was following a call from Anwar, who had requested that the event be called off.

He had via Facebook Live, announced the decision, claiming that Anwar had promised to help with the issue.

He said that what was important was results, and bearing that ultimate goal in mind, he adhered to Anwar’s purported request.

He also labelled the phone call from Anwar as a “plus point”, which must be heeded, adding that if the rally went on as planned, he would be surely arrested, and expressed fear of chaos.

The planned protest was to voice disagreement with Dr Zakir, after he reportedly questioned the loyalty of the ethnic Indians here towards Dr Mahathir.

Reports quoting him as saying the local Indian community were more loyal to Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, than Dr Mahathir triggered fresh demands for Putrajaya to deport him.

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