Naik demands apology, compensation from Kula for alleged defamation

Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran (left) has been issued a letter of demand from preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

PETALING JAYA: Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik has sent a notice of demand to M Kula Segaran, claiming the human resources minister had defamed him in a press statement three days ago.

Naik’s lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, said his client wants Kula to tender an unreserved apology, which is to be published in the social media, within the next 48 hours.

“He is to make an offer of a reasonable sum of settlement for the damage, embarrassment and humiliation to our client as a result of the (alleged) defamation,” he said.

Akberdin said a defamation suit would be filed against Kula if the demand was not acceded to.

The lawyer said the alleged defamatory statements were made in a press release titled “Zakir Naik’s presence in Malaysia is embarrassing to all Malaysians” and published by news media.

The demand letter also said Kula’s statement, among others, implied that Naik is a dishonest person who would abuse the Islamic religion for his own selfish purpose.

On Wednesday, Kula and Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, both from DAP, said they were leaving it to Dr Mahathir Mohamad to decide on how to deal with Naik, who recently sparked controversy by questioning the Hindu community’s loyalty to the prime minister.

In a joint statement, they urged for action to be taken against Naik, saying he should not be allowed to remain in the country.

They said Mahathir “took note of their concerns”.

Naik is wanted by Indian authorities over allegations of money laundering and terrorism-related activities.

He has denied the charges, saying he is a victim of Indian media sensationalising the issue to gain a bigger audience.

Naik was reported to have said Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Mahathir despite receiving “100 times” more rights than Muslims in India.

He has since accused his critics of quoting him out of context at a lecture he gave in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, last week.