GEORGE TOWN, Aug 19 — Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy is ready to face India-born fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik in court for defamation.
The Penang lawmaker welcomed a defamation suit by the controversial preacher and hoped the truth will be revealed in court.
“The word apology, in so far Zakir Naik is concerned, is not in my vocabulary,” he said in response to a notice of demand he had received from Dr Zakir’s lawyers today.
Ramasamy said the notice gave him 48 hours to apologise over remarks he made against the preacher in an article entitled “Naik should not question loyalty of Hindus in Malaysia”.
“I’ve written so many articles but he’s only finding fault with this one, the mildest piece compared to the others,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.
He said the notice had also accused him of using Dr Zakir to make a comeback in DAP.
“The notice claimed that I was sidelined in the party and that I was using Zakir Naik to make a comeback to a better position in the party, this is stupid, what has it got to do with this issue,” he said.
The Perai assemblyman added that he had handed the notice to his lawyer, Mureli Navaratnam.
Dr Zakir today issued notices of demand, served by legal firm Akberdin & Co, to Ramasamy, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, former ambassador Datuk Dennis Ignatius and Klang MP Charles Santiago.
In his notices, he said the four had made defamatory remarks against him in several articles and press release.
He had given them 48 hours to retract their respective statements and apologise or face defamation suits against them.
Last Friday, Dr Zakir lodged police reports against Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran and the four.
He alleged the five had wrongly quoted his August 8 remarks out of context and accused them of twisting and manipulating his comments.
Ramasamy pointed out that the Islamic preacher had only sent notices and lodged police reports against non-Muslims.
“Why is he sending notices to non-Muslims, a lot of Malays also criticised him, this is selective prosecution, he’s only targeting non-Muslims,” he said.
Ramasamy said all four of them, who were issued the notices, are prepared to face Dr Zakir in court.
“It doesn’t matter to me, I will see him in court and let him prove he’s not a money launderer, he’s not supporting terrorist movement, he’s not misusing public funds meant for charity, let it all come out in the open,” he said.
He said the courtroom will be a good avenue to expose Dr Zakir for who he is.
Meanwhile, Satees issued a statement to stress that he “will not run away to some foreign country and cry victim over this”.
“Be it police report, or civil suit, I will face it, from my motherland, Malaysia,” he said.
He said he stood by his comment and refused to apologiSe for his comments which he believed he had made in the interest of the nation’s harmony.
“I’m ready to face Zakir Naik in the Court of Law. My lawyers will convey this to Zakir Naik’s lawyer soon,” he said.
He hoped the preacher will not demand for a “written undertaking that the Malaysian court process will be fair to him”, like what he was demanding from the Indian courts over his money laundering criminal charges.
“In the meantime, I too hope this case will proceed to trial and will not end up like Zakir Naik’s infamous RM5 billion defamation case against Indian news channel, Times Now and its former anchor Arnab Goswami, back in India,” he said.