PETALING JAYA: The tit-for-tat between DAP’s P Ramasamy and PPBM leaders over Dr Zakir Naik continues, with the Penang deputy chief minister II hitting out at Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s apparent U-turn on the controversial preacher.
Last night, Syed Saddiq, who had previously called for Naik to be deported, had urged Malaysians to “move on” from the issue in the wake of the prime minister ruling out Naik’s deportation.
“The country needs healing,” the PPBM youth chief said after hosting Naik and his son, Tariq, at his residence last night.
Ramasamy claimed that Syed Saddiq’s U-turn had caught many Malaysians by surprise.
He said if the popular evangelist had genuinely apologised to the public, it could explain Syed Saddiq’s change of heart.
“Naik never apologised for his provocative speech in which he insulted and hurt the feelings of the Hindus and Chinese. He merely apologised to those who misinterpreted the contents without comprehending the context.
“So, Syed Saddiq, what kind of apology was this from Naik?”
Apart from Syed Saddiq, PPBM Supreme Council member Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen had also urged Pakatan Harapan component leaders to cool off and stop pressuring the prime minister to deport Naik.
Rafiq yesterday said leaders of parties in the ruling coalition, such as Ramasamy, should respect Mahathir’s stance.
Meanwhile, veterans group National Patriots Association (Patriot) also called on Malaysians to move on, now that Naik has apologised over his controversial remarks.
Its president, Arshad Raji, said that the nation had for the past 15 months “wasted too much time” bickering on race-religion issues instigated by opposition parties and the power struggle for domination within the ruling coalition.
This, he said, had hampered efforts that could have been better used to realise promised reforms.
“Let us move on,” he said in a statement, adding hopes that Naik’s apology is sincere and that the Mumbai-born preacher has learnt his lesson not to tread on sensitive issues.
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 were often misquoted. He was also summoned for questioning by police after more than 100 police reports were lodged against him.