Time to cool off on Zakir Naik, say PPBM duo

PPBM Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman invited preacher Zakir Naik to dinner at his home this evening. (Instagram pic)

PETALING JAYA: After having called for controversial preacher Zakir Naik to be deported, PPBM Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has urged Malaysians to “move on” from the issue in the wake of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad ruling out Naik’s deportation.

Another PPBM official, supreme council member Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, urged Pakatan Harapan component leaders to cool off and stop pressuring the prime minister to deport Naik. Rafiq said leaders of parties in the ruling coalition, such as P Ramasamy of DAP, should respect Mahathir’s stance.

Syed Saddiq remarks were made after he invited Naik to dinner at his home this evening.

He posted a photograph of Naik having a chat with him and his son Fariq and in remarks accompanying the photograph, Syed Saddiq said: “Let’s move on. The country needs healing.”

He said everyone makes mistakes. “I myself have made mistakes and I have to accept criticisms and reprimands I receive. There is no need to gloat about it and aggravate the situation. There is no need to insult,” he said.

He did not say which criticisms or insults he meant. However, earlier this month Syed Saddiq had became the first PPBM minister to say Naik should go, after the preacher made comments about the Chinese community.

The other PPBM leader, Mohd Rafiq, noted that Mahathir had twice stated that Naik would not be deported to India (where money laundering charges have been laid against the popular evangelist).

“The repeated calls for the prime minister and his government (to have Naik deported) will only aggravate the matter, raise temperatures and cause tension among the different races and religions in the country,” Rafiq said in a statement.

Yesterday, Ramasamy said Mahathir’s lack of immediate action against Naik was disappointing, adding that the prime minister had promised a new Malaysia for all, irrespective of race or religion.

Naik got into trouble with Malaysian authorities after he cast doubts on the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus. He also appeared to question the position of the Chinese community in Malaysia in a recent series of lectures hosted by the Kelantan government.

He has since apologised, but suggested that his remarks are often misquoted. He was also summoned for a series of questioning by police after more than 100 police reports were lodged against him.