PKR leaves Zakir Naik’s PR status to the authorities

PETALING JAYA: PKR says it is leaving it to the authorities on whether preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s permanent resident (PR) status should be revoked, despite saying it is not right for him to “attack” the various races in the country.

The party’s political bureau said they respect the decision by the police to impose a blanket ban on programmes linked to Naik throughout the country for security reasons.

“But while we recognise the right to preach, it is not right to use forums to attack any race in the country,” the political bureau said in a statement referring to Naik’s recent statements on Malaysian Hindus and Chinese.

The statement was read out by PKR central leadership council member Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad at a press conference at the party’s headquarters here.

Present was PKR disciplinary board chief Ahmad Kassim, PKR vice-president Chang Lih Kang and party communications director Fahmi Fadzil.

PKR also urged all parties to respect the sensitivities of all races, adding that statements such as those insulting the armed forces should not be repeated.

The bureau was referring to a controversial suggestion that the manpower of the armed forces be diverted to help with plantation work and community projects.

Perak tycoon Koon Yew Yin, in a recent blog post on improving the civil service, said that armed forces personnel “are doing nothing except eating and sleeping”.

“In fact, almost all of them have never fired a shot except at target practice. Some of them should replace the foreign workers in the Felda plantations,” the businessman wrote on his blog last week.

Koon has since retracted his statement and apologised.

Naik, meanwhile, recently sparked controversy when he allegedly questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and was later quoted as saying that the Chinese in Malaysia could also be considered as “guests” in the country.

The Indian-born preacher has denied stoking racial sentiments, saying he is a victim of a vilification campaign.

Naik has been wanted in India since 2016 for investigations into money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speech.

However, he has refused to return, saying he will not be accorded a fair trial under the present government.