SHAH ALAM: Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country and as such, racial and religious bigotry must be avoided, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The PKR president said that Islam did not promote intolerance and injustice but instead, was very clear on the principle of justice and tolerance.
Anwar was asked by reporters on the controversies surrounding Indian preacher Zakir Naik on the sidelines of the National Professional Motivators Convention Sunday (Aug 18).
“It is a very contentious issue and people are enraged. I appeal for the need for reason discourse and understanding before we come up with any views," he said.
When asked if there would be adverse reaction from Muslim groups if Zakir were to be deported to India, Anwar said it was best to stay clear of such reaction.
“I don’t believe we should pander to the sentiments of either purely racial or religious bigotry," he said.
To a question if he would be meeting Zakir to hear his explanation about the controversies surrounding him, Anwar said there wasn’t a need for him to meet the preacher.
He added that he would just read the explanations that were given by Zakir.
Zakir ruffled many feathers recently when he alleged that Malaysian Indians were more loyal to Indian premier Narendra Modi than Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He also said that if he were asked to go home, members of the local Chinese community should also return to the land of their forefathers.
Anwar also said PKR’s top echelon leaders have yet to discuss several matters including the party’s stand on Zakir.
He said the party’s political bureau will be meeting on Wednesday (Aug 21) to discuss issues concerning Zakir.
On another matter, Anwar advised everyone, including political leaders, to respect the Pakatan Harapan agreement on the position of the current and subsequent prime minister.
Anwar reminded everyone not to make any comment regarding the succession plan as the agreement clearly stipulated that Dr Mahathir is the current prime minister and he is the next premier.
“Our advice is to respect the agreement and support Dr Mahathir as the prime minister and me as the next prime minister," reiterated Anwar.
He added there were attempts of sabotaging the agreement but as far as him, Dr Mahathir and the rest of the Pakatan leaders were concerned, nothing will change from the initial plan.
Anwar was responding to a question regarding Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim’s call for Dr Mahathir to resign.