PETALING JAYA: Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran today said he had no intention of apologising for his remarks against preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
“See you in court,” he told the controversial preacher, who has threatened to sue him for defamation.
“A legal notice that I have defamed Naik was sent to my ministry’s office yesterday.
“In the letter, Naik’s lawyers gave me 48 hours to retract my statement, apologise and pay compensation.
“I would like to reiterate that I will stand by what I said and in no way am I going to apologise for standing up for my fellow Malaysians,” Kula said.
Naik was reported to have claimed that Malaysians of Indian origin were more loyal to the Narendra Modi government than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, while Chinese Malaysians are “old guests” who should go back to their ancestral land.
“This statement by Naik is most uncalled for, and clearly shows his intentions to sow discord in our multicultural country.
“This harmony that we have enjoyed is a Malaysian treasure which we should never give up for anyone, much less someone with Naik’s reputation,” the Ipoh Barat MP and DAP national vice-chairman said.
Kula said he would not run to another country to seek refuge as a result of this defamation suit.
“I am in Japan now on official business. As soon as I return to my motherland, I’ll defend the unfounded allegations against me without fear.
“I welcome this opportunity to confront bigotry and the anti-Malaysian sentiment on behalf of the people who voted for me and who rely on me to safeguard this country.”
Kula thanked Malaysians of all races and walks of life who had sent messages of support to him.
He promised to stop anyone who creates a disruption to the unity of Malaysia.
Yesterday, Naik had lodged a police report in Shah Alam against Kula, Penang Deputy Minister II P Ramasamy, Klang MP Charles Santiago, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy and former ambassador Dennis Ignatius claiming they had made defamatory statements against him.
Both Ramasamy and Santiago have welcomed the suit and said they were ready to face the preacher in court.
Yesterday, the Indian-born preacher spent several hours at Bukit Aman having his statement recorded regarding his speeches. He will be going back to the federal police headquarters on Monday to continue giving his statement.
Criminal Investigation Department director Huzir Mohamed, in a statement today, said that Naik is being investigated for causing intentional insult to provoke a breach of the peace.
He said the questioning yesterday was suspended at Zakir’s request to break his fast. Naik was accompanied by his lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, during the questioning from 3.30pm until 7pm.
Zakir is being investigated on a video clip where he allegedly said Hindu Malaysians do not support Mahathir but India’s Modi and also on a news report that Naik allegedly told Chinese Malaysians to leave the country, the statement added.
In the same statement, Huzir said investigations were ongoing on a statement by Tan Tai Kim, the chairman of the United Chinese School Committees Association, better known as Dong Zong. Tai may be summoned to have his statement taken later.
He said a pensioner lodged a report after reading through social media Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s description of Dong Zong as being racist for claiming the government introduced Jawi writing in schools as a form of Islamisation.
Dong Zong is being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intent to provoke a breach of the peace, which carries two years’ imprisonment, a fine or both upon conviction.
Huzir said police are also scheduled to record the statement of tycoon Koon Yew Yin in Ipoh on Monday following a complaint by a retired serviceman in Bidor that Koon had insulted the Malaysian Armed Forces in a blog post.
Koon had alleged that Armed Forces personnel did nothing but eat and sleep. He has since apologised for his remarks and removed his blog post.
Koon is being investigated under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for the offence of causing public mischief, which carries two years’ imprisonment or a fine or both upon conviction.
He is also being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act for improper use of network facilities, which is punishable with a fine of up to RM50,000, one year’s jail, or both.