KUALA LUMPUR: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said Dr Zakir Naik should be grateful to Dr Mahathir Mohamad for maintaining his permanent resident status instead of making controversial statements, and urged him to apologise to the prime minister.
Anwar said the PKR political bureau would meet tomorrow to come up with the party’s official stance on Naik.
He said he disagreed with the controversial preacher even though he had apologised for any misunderstandings caused by his statements on Malaysian Hindus and Chinese.
His remarks were greeted with applause during a PKR meet-the-people session at the Darul Puteri Community Centre near Jalan Cheras here on Tuesday night.
Present were PKR Federal Territories chairman Zahir Hassan and party MPs for Kuala Lumpur – P Prabakaran (Batu), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Setiawangsa), Tan Yee Kew (Wangsa Maju) and Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai).
Anwar said even though Naik was someone he knew well and had good traits, his actions were not right.
Noting that the previous government had given Naik permanent resident status and the Pakatan Harapan government had maintained this decision, he said Naik should be thankful.
“(He should have said) ‘Tun Mahathir, I am grateful to be given protection because if I go back to India, my safety is not guaranteed. And if given the chance, I apologise. I won’t do this again’.
“(This) will help but now, this is a problem for us. We want to help him (but) he gives us problems.”
Anwar also said this was not a question of challenging the dignity of Islam.
“We must follow the rule of law,” he said, adding that the police were investigating Naik and had decided that he was not allowed to lecture anymore in the country.
Naik, an Indian national, recently sparked controversy when he allegedly questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Mahathir, and was later quoted as saying the Chinese in Malaysia could also be considered as “guests” in the country.
Police have questioned Naik and recorded his statement over two sessions at Bukit Aman lasting hours after more than 100 police reports were lodged against him.
The police today imposed a blanket ban on programmes linked to Naik throughout the country for security reasons, saying these events could create a tense atmosphere among the races.
At tomorrow’s political bureau meeting, the PKR top leadership will discuss issues related to Naik as well as the controversy over Jawi script lessons in schools, and determine the party’s stand on these issues.