Ban on Zakir Naik stays, says Sarawak

Dr Zakir Naik. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: Sarawak has insisted that the entry ban on controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik remains despite Putrajaya’s decision not to hand him over to Indian authorities for their investigations.

It was reported that Naik had been in the state’s banned list since the time Adenan Satem was the chief minister of Sarawak.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing said the state did not want to allow Naik into Sarawak.

“Why should we allow a religious bigot to enter Sarawak and ruin its religious and social harmony?”

Sarawak and Sabah have autonomy over immigration matters under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). Sabah and Sarawak are empowered to bar individuals whom they deem undesirable from entering.

It was reported earlier that calls for Naik to be deported to India had grown following his recent series of lectures in Kelantan, one of which touched on the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Naik claimed that Malaysian Hindus are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Mahathir despite receiving “100 times” more rights than Muslims in India.

He was also quoted as saying that Chinese in Malaysia were also considered “guests” in Malaysia.

However, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has defended Naik, saying that Muslim critics were not qualified to question his credentials to speak on comparative religion.

In KOTA KINABALU, the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) called on the Sabah government to use its immigration powers to ban Naik from coming to Sabah to protect its peace and harmony.

SAPP deputy presidents Richard Yong, Edward Dagul and Japiril Suhaimin said India-born Naik is a controversial person being sought by his country of origin for alleged money laundering.

“A controversial figure like this should not be allowed to enter Sabah. Should the federal government decide to let that ‘instigator’ remain in Malaysia, Sabah should ban him from coming to the state for whatever purpose.

“SAPP prefers him deported.”