The Malaysian government has applied to strike out an application by Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia chairperson P Waythamoorthy and 16 other activists that controversial preacher Zakir Naik is a threat to Malaysia’s safety and therefore should not be granted permanent resident status.
In questioning the legal standing of the 17, Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan and Shamsul Bolhassan said that since Zakir was not named as a defendant in the action, the declaration sought by the group could not be granted.
Saying that the 17 applicants should have filed for a judicial review instead of a suit, the two counsel also noted that the applicants had failed to show how the decisions made by the defendants – who were the Home Minister, the Immigration Department, the inspector-general of police and the National Registration Department – had affected their rights.
In reply, the 17 activists, represented by R Kenghadharan and S Karthigesan, said the court should allow their application as Zakir was a threat to national security as he was wanted in India.
They said they had the right to raise the application as it involved a matter of public interest.
The activists had on March 1 last year filed an originating summons compelling the authorities to arrest and deport the controversial Islamic preacher from India.
However, on Sept 20, they filed an amendment to their originating summons dropping their demand for Zakir’s arrest and deportation and instead seeking a declaration that he is a threat to the safety and public order of the federation and therefore was not entitled to get permanent resident status in Malaysia.
Among the activists are activists Bingkor assemblyperson Jeffrey Kitingan, lawyer Siti Kassim and Centre for Policy Initiatives director Lim Teck Ghee.
Last year, the Indian government had banned Zakir and his organisation Islamic Research Foundation for five years, declaring it unlawful.
The preacher is accused by the Indian government of promoting hate speech and laundering money.