Zakir Naik lodges report, files notice of demand on HR Minister

Controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik (fourth from left) and his lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader (sixth from left) (Photo provided by Akberdin Abdul Kader)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 16): Controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik has lodged a police report at the Shah Alam police station today against Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran and also served a notice of demand against him for defamation over his comments that was published in a press statement issued by the ministry and a news portal.

The notice of demand was filed by law firm Akberdin & Co and served on Kulasegaran this afternoon, seeking an apology from the minister within 48 hours, failing which he will face a defamation suit.

Besides naming Kulasegaran — who is also Ipoh Barat MP — in the suit, Zakir also named deputy Penang chief minister P Ramasamy, former diplomat Datuk Dennis J Ignatius, Klang MP Charles Santiago and Bagan Dalam assemblyman M Satees in the police report, alleging that the five of them had made defamatory statements about him over a speech he made in Kota Bharu, Kelantan last Aug 8.

Zakir's lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader told theedgemarkets.com that notice of demand would also be served on the four of them soon, and that senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has been engaged as counsel should a suit be filed.

The preacher's complaints with the five parties to his potential suit are as follows:

  • Kulasegaran: A statement titled 'Zakir Naik's presence in Malaysia is embarrassing to all Malaysians' dated Aug 13, and a Malaysiakini report on the same day.
  • Ramasamy: An article titled 'Naik should not question loyalty of Hindus in Malaysia' dated Aug 13 that was published on Free Malaysia Today.
  • Ignatius: A report titled 'Why empower a demagogue like Zakir Naik?' published on Free Malaysia Today on Aug 13.
  • Santiago: A Facebook posting titled 'Wednesday cabinet meeting must discuss Zakir Naik's meddling into politics' and a similar article carried by Malaysiakini.
  • Satees: An article titled 'Lawmaker fumes after Zakir suggests Hindus here supports Modi over Dr M' published by Malaysiakini on Aug 13.

In the police report, Zakir claimed that the five of them had quoted him out of context, and manipulated his speech in accusing him of creating communal disharmony "when in actuality they are the ones who have been instigating the public and inciting communical disharmony for their own political mileage".

"During the lecture, I had actually praised Malaysia for its genuinely Islamic way in treating Hindu minorities and in upholding their rights, something that the Indian government had failed to do with its minorities," he said in a police report sighted by theedgemarkets.com.

He lodged the reports against the five of them to seek a police investigation under the Penal Code or the Sedition Act 1948, and other relevant laws, for allegedly defaming him and instigating racial disharmony and hatred among Malaysians.

In the six-page notice of demand, Zakir said Kulasegaran's statement accused him of trying to divide the Malaysian people and was using the country's ethnic and religious diversity for that purpose.

Moreover, according to the federal minister's statement, the preacher had allegedly meant that Hindus here could not be trusted and that he was taking sides in Malaysian politics.

The preacher claims that this had tarnished his reputation and standing in the eyes of the public, hence why he is seeking an apology within 48 hours, failing which he will sue for defamation.