KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Tuesday (Oct 31) that the country will not stop two Islamic preachers from speaking in public, following Singapore's move to bar the two men from entering the Republic.
Singapore on Monday barred Zimbabwean Ismail Menk and Malaysian Haslin Baharim as their hardline teachings ran counter to Singapore's multi-cultural and multi-religious values.
Datuk Seri Zahid, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said the duo has so far not caused any tensions among Malaysia's various religions or ethnic groups.
"So far, these two religious speakers have not suggested anything that goes against our understanding of cultural and religious diversity to the point of causing social, racial and religious tensions in Malaysia," he was quoted saying by the Bernama news agency.
"Thus far, Malaysia is satisfied with what they are doing and does not intend to take similar action (as Singapore's) as they are not wrong in our eyes," he said.
Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Monday that the decision to bar them was made in consultation with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the Singapore Tourism Board and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
It said that both men had been engaged to preach on a religious-themed cruise departing from Singapore on Nov 25 and returning on Nov 29.
They were to have been part of a five-day cruise from Singapore to Indonesia's Banda Aceh, and back, that was advertised as a "spiritual voyage".
MHA said Menk is known to preach "segregationist and divisive teachings", while Haslin has described non-Muslims as "deviant".
Menk had asserted that it is blasphemous and "the biggest sin" for Muslims to wish non-Muslims "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Deepavali".
Meanwhile, Haslin has advocated that in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies, non-Muslims should be made subservient to Muslims.
According to the MHA, both men had previously had their Miscellaneous Work Pass applications to preach in Singapore rejected.
"They will not be allowed to get around the ban by preaching instead on cruise ships which operate to and from Singapore," the ministry said in its statement.
Muis said their teachings "run counter to the values Singaporean Muslims uphold dearly that can contribute to a progressive and thriving religious life in Singapore".
It said that both men's background and past teachings contravened the code of ethics of Singapore's Asatizah Recognition Scheme, which it administers. The scheme requires all Islamic religious teachers to register before they can teach here.