Controversial preacher Zakir Naik has been barred from delivering public speeches in Malaysia, according to police.
Royal Malaysia Police corporate communications head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Asmawati Ahmad confirmed this, following a leaked circular that was issued to all state-level police chiefs, reports Malaysian website thestar.com.
“Yes. Such an order has been given to all police contingents, and this was done in the interest of national security and to preserve racial harmony,” she said when contacted on Tuesday, the website quoted.
Zakir had been barred by seven states - Melaka, Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak - from speaking in public, after his recent racial remarks.
Earlier, Naik had been barred by Malaysian police from addressing an Islamic event being held during August 16-18 even as a minister said he would be summoned for questioning over “racist statements” made earlier.
Naik’s case figured at a cabinet meeting and home minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that some elements were spreading “fake news” and making “racist statements...without considering the sensitivities of Malaysians”.
Human resource minister M Kulasegaran, one of the senior-most Hindu politicians in the Malaysian coalition government, had said in a statement that Naik’s “actions do not reflect one deserving of a permanent resident status”.
He said the time had come for the “fugitive foreigner to leave Malaysia and to face charges of terrorism and money laundering...in India”.
Naik, who has lived in Malaysia for about three years after he was granted permanent residency, has been at the centre of a storm since videos emerged of an August 8 event where he said Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to the Indian prime minister. Three ministers have demanded he should be expelled.
Naik is facing cases in India since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.