PETALING JAYA: Malaysia continues to host controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik because not many countries want him, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We are trying to find some place where he can go to but at the moment no one wants to accept him, ” said Dr Mahathir yesterday when asked why Malaysia is still allowing Zakir to stay.
Speaking during the Breakfast Grille on BFM89.9 yesterday, Dr Mahathir said even Zakir’s country, India, had not asked for him to be sent back.
“India has not insisted. I met Mr (Indian Prime Minister Narenda) Modi.
“He didn’t ask me to send back this man. This man could also be troublesome for India, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir acknowledged Zakir breached the criteria of his Permanent Resident status by making comments about the country’s politics and system.
He said “it was complicated” when asked why no action was taken against Zakir over his racial remarks made in Kelantan recently.
“When somebody comes along and says something that resonates with their thinking, even though they don’t understand, they like the sound.
“I am afraid he was speaking in English and the audience, while most of them couldn’t speak English, they think that this man is a great fighter and they like him.
“When we take any action against him, that means we are going against that group. In Malaysia, you have to be very careful about how you deal with this, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir also said that the government was looking at raising funds by selling some of its assets to help reduce the nation’s debts.
One way to do so is to sell nonessential properties locally and abroad that can fetch good prices, he said.
“We will sell them for whatever value they may have. Normally, the amount is not very big but still, the accumulated amount will be big, ” he said.