Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam is not in the position to decide whether or not Islamic preacher Zakir Naik should get a permanent resident (PR) status in Malaysia, PAS information chief Nasrudin Hasan said today.
“I would like to advise MIC president Dr S Subramaniam to not simply release statements, especially in matters pertaining to Islam and Muslims in the country.
“Dr Zakir Naik is a scholar and preacher well known for his expertise in the field of comparative religion and is highly revered by Islamic scholars, and Muslims the world over,” he said.
Nasrudin said as a minister, Subramaniam (photo) should be aware of, and understand the procedures used to award a PR status to a foreigner in this country.
“Basically, a person should have a valid entry pass issued by the Immigration Department, and have a valid international passport.
“The PR status is also not a personal right, but an award given by the Malaysian government to foreigners based on several aspects, including certain professionals and experts who can possibly share their expertise here, without affecting the interests of the existing population.
“It is certain that the process (giving PR) would have gone through various ministries and agencies, including the Home Ministry, the police, the National Registration Department (NRD), the Immigration Department and others.
“Associating Zakir Naik with terrorism and accusing him of igniting tension between religions are baseless accusations from Subramaniam,” said Nasrudin, adding that issuing such comments are also not in Subramaniam’s jurisdiction as the health minister.
In his statement recently, Subramaniam had described Zakir as an “avoidable distraction” for Malaysia and warned the controversial preacher could undermine the country’s unity.
Subramaniam cited Zakir’s evangelist TV channel being banned in several countries to make his case, and said Malaysia has good religious scholars to turn to without the need to turn to Zakir.
Zakir, who authorities recently confirmed was given PR status some five years ago, is presently wanted by Indian authorities for alleged money laundering.
However, he has been well-embraced here, with right-wing group Perkasa even granting him an honorary membership.