THE decision not to deport preacher Dr Zakir Naik to India was a cabinet one and not a unilateral move by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya said yesterday.
“This is not a decision made by an individual, so there is no need to further discuss it.
“If they are unhappy about it then they can refer it to the respective parties. Why do you need to protest?” he was quoted saying by the New Straits Times in Penang.
Marzuki was asked about a rally planned for this afternoon in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur against Zakir.
The ‘Say No to Zakir Naik’ rally called off by its organiser, but police still blocked roads and patrolled the area as a precaution.
Dr Zakir is under police investigation for remarks that have offended Malaysian Indians and Chinese during a ceramah in Kota Baru recently.
He has denied intending to cause offence and said his speech was misunderstood.
Police, however, have received 515 police reports against the Mumbai-born preacher, who is fleeing accusations of money-laundering, hate speech and inciting terrorism in India.
There are increasing calls to deport Dr Zakir, who has permanent residency in Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir said while it is not ideal to have Dr Zakir in a multiracial, multi-religous country like Malaysia, Putrajaya would not deport him to India, where there are threats on his life and would not receive a fair trial.