PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Two Malaysian ministers have told Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik must be booted out of the country.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resource Minister M. Kula Segaran said they explained their opposition to the presence of Mr Zakir in the country to Tun Dr Mahathir at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (Aug 14).
"We have raised the issue with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet this morning, over Zakir's presence in Malaysia and the recent event held by him in Kota Baru over the weekend and other statements he has made which have caused controversy.
"We expressed our position that action must be taken and Zakir should no longer be allowed to remain in Malaysia.
"The Prime Minister has taken note of our concerns. We leave it to him to consider the position and to decide soonest possible what will be done to deal with the problem," said the two ministers.
In his latest controversial comments made at a talk about Islam in Kelantan, Mr Zakir told the Chinese community in Malaysia to "go back" first, as they were the "old guests" of the country.
In remarks made at a talk, Mr Zakir described how Islam had spread through traders in the region.
"Later on, more people came and Malaysia became fully Muslim. Then you have the Chinese coming, the Indian coming, the British coming. They are our new guests.
"People call me a guest. So I said, before me, the Chinese were the guests. They aren't born here. If you want the new guest to go first, (then) ask the old guests to go back.
"The Chinese weren't born here, most of them. Maybe the new generation, yes. If you want the guest to go back and those guest which (sic) are bringing peace in the community, they are benefit (sic) for the family," he said.
In the same venue, he was also chastised by many parties after he compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus enjoyed more than 100 per cent rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India.
He also alleged that the Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir.
Mr Zakir - who is an Indian citizen - has stirred controversy in Malaysia with his open evangelism criticising non-Muslims.
He is wanted by New Delhi on money laundering charges. He has espoused controversial views in his lectures and videos when answering issues linked to Hinduism with his puritan brand of Islam.
But Mr Zakir, 53, is a popular figure in Muslim-majority Malaysia and has been granted permanent residency status in the country.
Dr Mahathir has since admitted that Malaysia was in a catch-22 situation, as Mr Zakir was "an unwelcome guest Malaysia can't send away".