When the Zakir Naik issue surfaced, there were loud voices of discontent and protest from the public. Most called for his deportation. Others demanded that police charge him for saying what he said. So alarming were these cries, it led to a slight change of heart, if you will, by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad towards Naik.
From over-protecting him with less than convincing arguments, Mahathir stated that Naik had indeed crossed the line with his statements on the Indian and Chinese communities who have been an integral part of this country.
Now it appears that the end is nigh for Naik and his brand of provocative preaching. The main players had their say except for PKR which said it would make known its stand once the prime minister-in-waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, returned from his umrah.
But, alas, what an anti-climax it was to be told by the party’s political bureau that it would leave the matter of revoking Naik’s permanent resident status to the authorities to decide.
This is not the first time that PKR has avoided making a clear stand on issues that have come to the boil. Its escape clause is to say something and yet mean nothing. Surely the party must know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you cannot please two masters at the same time by playing safe.
Playing to the gallery may lead to a feel-good moment. But how long can such moments last?
Mahathir may have underestimated the mood of all right-thinking Malaysians when Naik lambasted the Indian and Chinese citizens of this land in his recent visit to Kelantan and when the resultant effect snowballed.
But at least Mahathir took cognizance of this fact and said Naik’s PR status could be revoked.
If PKR continues with its non-committal stand on each and every issue that is seen as explosive, you may just wonder what hope this nation has should Anwar become the eighth prime minister of this country.
At some point in time, PKR must stand firm against the likes of Naik who has pockets of support from certain sections of the Muslim community.
Until such time, the people need not look up to PKR and Anwar for guidance, leadership, inspiration and unanswered questions. It simply doesn’t exist at the moment.
Neither should anyone believe in the adage that silence is golden. Not when it will affect the peace and harmony of this country and the well being of our future generations.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.