In what could be described as a set back for Zakir Naik, the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad suggested that no country was willing to accept the controversial Islamic preacher. Dr Mohamad who once stood with Naik and was against his extradition to India said “no one wanted to accept him”- a blow to Naik who has been boasting about offers of nationality from at least ten countries. The statement comes amid the call for deporting the televangelist from Malaysia. As many as five cabinet ministers are still believed to be of the opinion that Naik poses a threat to communal harmony.
Sources close to the PM office told Republic TV that two ministers have spoken to the Prime Minister on the matter and that they do not accept his apology. An investigation was launched after Naik's controversial comments on Hindus and Chinese community living in Malaysia sparked a huge debate. Naik, while addressing a gathering in Kota Bahru suggested that Hindus living in the country were more loyal to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Mahathir Mohamad. Responding to the calls of his deportation he also targeted the Chinese community living in Malaysia by calling them “guests” and said before sending him back to India the Chinese would have to leave the country first. The latest remark by the Malaysian Prime Minister came while he was talking to a private FM in his country where he was asked regarding his government's position on Zakir Naik. Dr Mohamad also highlighted the 'sensitivity' of the matter and said that on these kinds of issues one can not simply pick one and 'throw it out' as that is “not how it works in Malaysia”.
However, the Malaysian PM also expressed his concerns over the repercussions of Naik's deportation. He suggested that if a large number of people strike a chord with someone especially on religious matters then they start treating the preacher or messenger as true “fighter”. While the general people may not completely understand the motive or meaning of those messages, a similarity of viewpoints triggers fondness for preachers. It also means that going against the person would be “going against the group” of people who like him.