KUALA LUMPUR: Klang MP Charles Santiago had his statement recorded by the police on Monday (Sept 16) over a statement he had made against controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
The lawmaker arrived at Bukit Aman at around 10.40am before entering the building five minutes later. He exited Bukit Aman at 1.40pm after being questioned by the police.
“I am being investigated for criminal defamation and intention to create unrest in the country. Two parties have made reports against me - one being Dr Zakir himself and the other, a group of around 300 people who have made police reports against me for various reasons, ” he said when met outside Bukit Aman on Monday.
He said the root cause of the investigations was from a statement he made previously calling on the Cabinet to discuss the controversial remarks made by the preacher.
“We have allowed a foreigner to divide our unity, a unity that has been built over so many years. This is the issue that I raised so that the Cabinet can make a decision.
“I’m being investigated because I’m fighting for unity in the country. This makes no sense-lah (sic). As an MP, it is our duty to champion unity, ” he said.
The police, he added, had asked him around 22 questions, which he answered candidly.
“The officer was very professional, ” he said.
His lawyer John Fam said Santiago, as an MP, had a “constitutional duty” to advise the Cabinet.
“If he has not done his duty, he would have failed as an elected representative, ” Fam said.
He also revealed that Zakir’s legal team had not served any writ of summons on him.
“Whatever Charles said was the truth and fair comment. There is nothing defamatory in it. If they would like to proceed with the matter, we are always ready to accept a writ, ” he added.
Dr Zakir had named Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, Santiago, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy and former ambassador Dennis J Ignatius, as having made defaming statements against him.
The statements were made after Dr Zakir called on the Malaysian Chinese to "go back" first as they were the "old guests" of the country during a religious talk called "Executive Talk bersama Dr Zakir Naik" in Kota Baru, Kelantan.
He was responding to calls for his own deportation.
Dr Zakir's speech at the event was also criticised by many parties after he allegedly compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100% rights compared to Muslims in India.
He also alleged that the Hindus here were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Malaysia's Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
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