KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial preacher Zakir Naik (pic) has given Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy and three others a 48-hour notice to apologise and pay a reasonable settlement sum to avoid being sued for defamation.
Zakir's demand letters were served by the legal firm Akberdin & Co on Monday (Aug 19) to the four, who include Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, former ambassador Datuk Dennis Ignatius and Klang MP Charles Santiago.
When contacted, Santiago confirmed that his office had received the notice Monday afternoon.
"I stand by my statement and will not apologise to Zakir," said Santiago.
"I welcome this action to enable me to justify and prove to the court that his speech in Kelantan was highly toxic, inflammatory and could cause religious and racial unrest in our multicultural society," he added.Zakir's demand for an apology comes after he lodged a police report against Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and the four in Shah Alam on Friday (Aug 16).
In his report, Zakir claimed that the five had wrongly quoted out of context on his reply to one of the questions posed to him after his speech on the topic "Misconceptions of Islam" in Kelantan on Aug 8.
In his letter of demand against Santiago sighted by The Star, Zakir claimed that the former had defamed him in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Aug 13 titled "Wednesday Cabinet meeting must discuss Zakir Naik's meddling into politics".
In the letter of demand to Ignatius, Zakir cited an article by the former envoy on Aug 13 titled "Why empower a demagogue like Zakir Naik?" as being defamatory.
Ignatius, who had served the country as a diplomat and ambassador for over 36 years, said he would not apologise to Zakir in response to the preacher's police report last week.
However, he reserved his comments following the latest development.
Zakir claimed Ramasamy made defamatory remarks on Aug 8 in an article titled "Naik should not question loyalty of Hindus in Malaysia".
Zakir alleged that Satees had defamed him in an article on Aug 12 titled "Lawmaker fumes after Zakir suggests Hindus here support Modi over Dr M".
The alleged defamatory remarks by Ignatius, Ramasamy and Satees were published by several online news portals.
On Friday (Aug 16), Zakir served Kulasegaran with a letter of demand over a press release by the minister on Aug 13 titled "Zakir Naik's presence in Malaysia is embarrassing to all Malaysians".
In response, Kulasegaran said he stood by his statement against Zakir and would challenge the defamation suit in court.