KUALA LUMPUR • A controversial preacher overstepped boundaries when he touched on racial politics and stirred racial tensions in Malaysia, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.
Tun Dr Mahathir said he was not sure who had given the India-born Muslim preacher permanent residence status in Malaysia, but regardless, those holding the status cannot participate in politics.
Dr Zakir was granted permanent residency by the former Barisan Nasional administration.
“Religious teachers can preach, but he was not doing that. He was talking about sending Chinese back to China and Indians back to India. That’s politics,” Dr Mahathir said at a press conference, after launching this year’s 62nd International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress.
Recently, it was reported that Penang, Perlis, Kedah and Sarawak have banned Dr Zakir from speaking publicly in their states.
Dr Mahathir said the government was careful about how it said things that were sensitive to the different communities in Malaysia.
“I have never said this kind of thing. But he tells the Chinese to go back. If you want to talk about religion, go ahead, then it is permissible. We don’t want to stop him from that. But it is quite clear he wants to participate in racial politics in Malaysia. Now, he is stirring up racial feelings. That is bad,” Dr Mahathir said.
Because of that, Dr Mahathir said, the police will have to investigate whether Dr Zakir was causing tensions or not which, in his opinion, Dr Zakir obviously was.
During a religious talk in Kota Baru, Kelantan, on Aug 8, Dr 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 that, Dr Zakir had said Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Dr Mahathir.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
- As racial tension simmers, Raptors coach feels for players
- Five Years After Stirring Emotions at SB XLVII, Kaepernick Still Looms Large
- WWE Hall of Famer Booker T on racial inequality, Colin Kaepernick and the election
- Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2018: India vs Malaysia
- Ban imposed on top Indian football club owner without any hearing?
- Twitter reacts to announcer using racially insensitive phrase describing Russell Westbrook
- As Cleveland Indians Prepare to Part With Chief Wahoo, Tensions Reignite
- Confident Indian Women's Hockey Team to take on Australia in CWG semi-final
- En route to Serbia for upcoming tour, Indian U16 team made to wait at airport
- Malaysia’s Mahathir gets down to work after historic poll win