KOTA KINABALU: Many Sabahan netizens expressed their disappointment on Facebook yesterday over remarks made by controversial Muslim preacher, Zakir Naik.
His remarks were said to be about Chinese Malaysians, while rebutting calls for him to leave the country.
An officer from Sabah public university, Baizurah Basri condemned Zakir’s statement and labelled him as being “So arrogant”.
“I am a fourth generation Chinese (albeit no longer fully Chinese). My ancestors came here (on an invitation), lived and suffered here throughout the British time and the Japanese occupation, long before Zakir Naik set foot in this country. I am appalled that this person, this non-Malaysian, thinks that he has more right to be here than my people and the people that are clamouring to defend his actions,” she said in her Facebook status.
Ashraf Sharafi, in his Facebook posting, said that Malaysians do not need Zakir to remind them of the country’s social contagion in a rude manner.
Ashraf said the government’s decision not to send him back to India was based on humanitarian reason and justice, on the assumption he might not be given a fair trial if he was sent back to India.
“We have never asked Zakir to stay in Malaysia to chase Chinese Malaysians away, hence, he should not say anything that will jeopardize our unity,” he said.
Many netizens who shared postings on Zakir Naik’s remarks received emoticons depicting anger, and multiple sharings.
According to a news portal shared by many angry netizens, the remarks were made at a talk in Kelantan last Thursday, where he also commented that Hindu Malaysians seem to trust the Indian government more than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“[…] Malaysia became fully Muslim. Then you have the Chinese coming, the Indians coming, the British coming. They are our new guests. You know someone called me a guest. So I said, before me, the Chinese were the guests. If you want the new guest to go, first ask the old guest to go back. The Chinese aren’t born here, most of them. Maybe the new generations, yes. If you want the guest to go back, and those guests which (sic) are bringing peace in the community, they are benefit (sic) for the family,” he said before trailing off and getting back to the topic which was about denying that Islam was “spread by the sword”.
Three Pakatan Harapan ministers have told the Cabinet that they want Zakir Naik out of Malaysia. They are Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran and Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar at the Cabinet meeting.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong also called for the controversial preacher to be expelled and banned from Malaysia as he has proven to be a threat to racial harmony.
“As a foreigner and wanted criminal, who is he to tell the rightful Chinese citizens to leave the country? Since Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that his acceptance in Malaysia was granted on humanitarian grounds, Zakir should have some self-respect, ” he said in a post on his Facebook page yesterday.
Wee said that Zakir should respect the multiracial and multicultural ways of Malaysia as well as the sensitivities of all, instead of behaving arrogantly and uttering hurtful remarks.
During a religious talk in Kota Baru, Kelantan on Aug 8, Zakir responded to calls for his deportation by saying that the Malaysian Chinese should “go back” first as they were the “old guests” of the country.
Prior to this, Zakir had said Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Dr Mahathir.
Zakir is wanted in his home country of India on charges of money laundering and for inciting extremism.
Last month, Dr Mahathir had said that Malaysia is not keen for the controversial Islamic preacher to be here, but is hard-pressed to deport him elsewhere as “many countries” will not accept him.