Why should Malaysians be split over Zakir Naik?

For questioning the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus and touching a raw nerve in our multi-ethnic society, action must be taken against controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

Naik is an outsider who is a fugitive and has little knowledge of Malaysian history. He should not be given such privilege to run down other Malaysians, what more question their loyalty to the country. His actions do not reflect that of one deserving of permanent resident status and this will be brought up at the next Cabinet meeting.

Is Naik also attempting to create a fissure in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society so that he continues to enjoy immunity and privilege by obtaining the support of the Muslim community to continue staying in this country?

Is Naik also leveraging the current polemics related to race and religion in the country for his survival and benefits via taxpayers’ money?

Malaysia is a unique country that enjoys relative peace and harmony compared to many other Islamic countries due to the great balancing act of its leaders since independence. The foundations of stability are rooted in accommodating various ethnic groups without questioning their loyalty to the country.

The country’s supreme laws are secular and able to ensure the common good. Even though ethno-religious politicians continue to play the racial card, the balance of accommodating all communities including communities from Sabah and Sarawak in governance has brought stability to the country over the years. Should Malaysians be split over a man called Zakir Naik?

It’s time for Malaysians to unite and safeguard the peace and stability of the nation by exposing the dubious strategy of Naik in using religious and racial sentiments in a tolerant and harmonious country. It’s time for the fugitive foreigner to leave Malaysia and to face charges of terrorism and money laundering in India.

Naik recently compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India and said that the former enjoy 100% more rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India. He further said that it was unfortunate that Hindus in Malaysia, despite the benefits, are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

If one relates his tribalism speech in Kelantan, it further seems to co-relate to the Umno/PAS tactics that destabilise the Pakatan Harapan coalition government through ethno-religious sentiments, which is a regretful misuse of religion in this country.

M Kula Segaran is the human resources minister.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.