KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's police have imposed a country-wide ban on "all activities" linked to controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik for security reasons.
The order was issued as such events can create a tense atmosphere in the multiracial society of Malaysia, said the police's head of corporate communications Asmawati Ahmad on Tuesday (Aug 20).
“All state police chiefs have been instructed to advise those who may organise programmes involving Zakir to stop holding such events," she said in a statement.
“All activities involving Zakir are banned. This directive took effect on Aug 15."
Naik, who faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, has come under fire for comments that pitted Malaysia's ethnic and religious minorities against the predominantly Muslim Malay majority.
The Indian preacher, who has lived in Malaysia for about three years and is a permanent resident, was called up by police on Monday and questioned for 10 hours. He was also questioned for five hours last Friday.
Prior to the announcement of the nationwide ban, Naik had already been banned from multiple states in the country.
The Negeri Sembilan government on Tuesday said its ban was enforced to maintain peace.
“As such, we will not allow Dr Zakir Naik to deliver any lecture in the state, whether openly or behind closed doors,” Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun told reporters.
Naik has apologised for his remarks and insisted he is not a racist. He said his detractors had taken his comments out of context and added "strange fabrications to them".