PETALING JAYA: Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy has questioned the need to invite controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik to give lectures in Malaysia.
He said Hindraf was shocked to hear that Zakir, whose activities and properties are being investigated in India, has been invited to conduct Friday sermon at a masjid in Arau at the invitation of the Perlis mufti this week.
“What is the real motive of the government in harbouring him and encouraging his speeches in Malaysia?” Waytha asked.
Waytha said he was also waiting for the government to confirm whether Zakir had been given permanent resident status.
Earlier, the government had denied Indian newspaper reports that Malaysia had granted Zakir citizenship.
“Last month, Zakir visited the Al-Madinah International University (Mediu) in Shah Alam, which was also under investigation for radical teachings after two students were arrested on suspicion of being Islamic State recruits planning a terror attack locally.
“So, the government must state if it has taken into account national security interests in allowing Zakir to roam free in Malaysia,” Waytha said.
Zakir was reported to have attended the Al Khadem conference held in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 23.
Earlier last year, Zakir had given talks in various states, including in Terengganu, Malacca and Selangor.
Zakir was awarded the “Tokoh Maal Hijrah” award in 2013.
The Hindustan Times reported that Zakir’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) had been banned for five years following a government notification declaring it to be an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
After a ban on the foundation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Naik and the IRF on charges of inciting Muslim youth to indulge in violence and promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion and race, the daily said.
The agency also charged Naik with indulging in activities that are prejudicial to national integration.
The agency then conducted searches at two dozen properties of Naik, his relatives and the IRF.
“Around three dozen bank accounts of the IRF and its trustees, including Zakir Naik, have been identified and banks were asked to freeze them as well,” said an NIA official.
The government has constituted a tribunal to reconsider the ban imposed on the IRF. -FMT