KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should take similar steps as Sarawak to ban controversial preacher Zakir Naik from coming into the state, says opposition Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).
Three SAPP deputy presidents - Datuk Richard Yong, Edward Dagul and Japiril Suhaimin - said that the state government should make the decision to bar his entry into the state if the Federal Government decides to allow him to stay in the country.
“As long as he is still in Malaysia, he must be banned from coming to Sabah, ” the three senior party leaders said in a statement Thursday (Aug 15) hours after Sarawak announced that Zakir was banned from entering the state.
They said that Zakir, an Indian national wanted by his government over investigations on alleged money laundering, was a controversial figure, and added that his statements were causing alarm and concern among Malaysians.
“Recently, he has been making statements to the effect of interfering Malaysia's administration and he has caused ethnic tension.
"A controversial figure like this should not be allowed to enter Sabah, ” the SAPP leaders added.
On the ongoing controversy over Dong Zong being labelled "racist", the three SAPP deputy presidents defended the organisation.
They said that Dong Zong is a well known association of school committees whose sole purpose is purely on education for the future of the younger generation.
“Dong Zong is not a political organisation and is definitely not racist. Education is a matter that concerns everyone (all races) in the country.
“Therefore, by virtue of their role and duty to champion the best education for the country, Dong Zong has a duty to voice out what they feel is best for education, especially those affecting Chinese schools.
"These schools are success stories and have produced many, many useful citizens for Malaysia, ” the statement said.
The SAPP leaders said that those who know the leaders of Dong Zong and the various school committees will realise that they are ordinary citizens who care for the schools under their care.
“They have to spend much time, energy and their own money to support the schools. They also have to work tirelessly to raise funds to build the hardware and software in the schools, ” they added.
They said that Chinese schools in Sabah were fortunate to get the support of the state governments over the last few decades.
“It did not matter who the government of the day is, the government has always supported and given financial grants to Chinese schools, " they said.
SAPP hopes that leaders in the Federal Government should be responsible and handle the issues of education properly and correctly without agitating the people.
“Do not agitate the people. Do not blame others for the failures of the government. Quickly solve the problems because that is why are you elected to be in power, ” the SAPP leaders said.