Organiser calls off anti-Zakir Naik rally after chat with Anwar

Anwar Ibrahim says the controversy sparked by Dr Zakir Naik has died down.

PETALING JAYA: The organiser of an anti-Dr Zakir Naik rally has called off the gathering, scheduled to take place this afternoon, following a request by Anwar Ibrahim.

Malay Mail Online quoted Shankar Ganesh as saying the PKR president had called him and promised to meet him and help address the issue.

In a 26-minute video, in which he spoke mostly in Tamil, Shankar claimed that Anwar pleaded with him not to proceed with the “Say No To Zakir Naik, Equal Rights To Indians & Others” rally and to meet him next week.

“Because of those words, I have to put my faith for the sake of the Indian community, to cancel the gathering tomorrow,” Shanker was quoted by the portal as saying.

He also played the alleged phone conversation he had with the Port Dickson MP.

Shankar went on to describe the phone call by Anwar as a “plus point” and that he was putting his “101%” faith in Anwar.

“He said ‘don’t worry, we will do something’. So let’s do this. Let’s put our faith on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” Malay Mail Online quoted him as saying.

Shankar’s decision to call off the rally came hours after Anwar pleaded for it to be cancelled, saying the controversy sparked by the preacher has died down.

Anwar said that police had already barred the controversial preacher for giving talks nationwide. Going ahead with the rally, he said, would only raise temperatures and generate various reactions.

Naik sparked an outcry following a series of public talks he gave in Kelantan in which he allegedly questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He was later quoted as saying the Chinese in Malaysia could also be considered as “guests” in the country.

Over 100 police reports have been lodged against the preacher, who has been banned from speaking in public anywhere in the country, including through social media platforms, until investigations involving him were settled.

Earlier this week, he apologised for any misunderstanding over his statements but maintained that these had been taken out of context.

Yesterday, police cited safety reasons in not allowing for the rally to proceed.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim also vowed stern action against those who disobey their orders, and advised the public to avoid the area.