Malaysia, UMNO and Zakir Naik: What is the Game here?

May 17, 2017

COMMENT: One of my doctoral students at Techo Sen School at The University of Cambodia who monitors political developments in Malaysia on a regular basis asked me pointedly what is Malaysia’s Foreign Policy? I asked him back, does Malaysia have one in the first place?

All I see I said is a series of politically motivated actions which are contradictory, inconsistent, self defeating, unprincipled and often unrelated to Malaysia’s national interest. Furthermore, I see my present  Prime Minister Najib Razak hoping from one country to another (in recent months  between India and China) with a begging bowl to save his own political skin. His Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other loose cannons in his Cabinet are mere chorus boys  including those  others in the civil service and ulamakdom.

Image result for ghazali shafie
Image result for ghazali shafie
The Magnificent Men of the 1960’s

Wisma Putra’s influence in the making of foreign policy too has been minimal since that role is supplanted by the so-called policy wonks on the 4th Floor, Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya. I expect our Minister Anifah Aman to react defensively with his comments on my blog soon. But he cannot escape the fact that Wisma Putra is today a mere shadow of what it used to be when Tun Muhammad Ghazalie Shafie was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.

As a young foreign service officer in the 1960s, I was taught by Tun Ghazalie  that international relations is about how in the pursuit of its national interest Malaysia relates to and interacts with other sovereign states. basically with members of the United Nations in the realm of politics and security, and geo-economics.We make friends in diplomacy he never ceased remind my colleagues and I. This depends on our foreign policy.

Image result for Najib in China for One Silk Road Summit

Prime Minister Najib Razak has yet to come to grips with reality that he is immensely unpopular and cannot be trusted to defend Malaysia’s National Interest.

I define national interest as the sum total of the individual and collective interests of Malaysians, that it is about safeguarding or advancing the collective welfare and economic well being of  all us, not of a single individual like Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Foreign policy is in reality an extension of Malaysia’s domestic policy; it is about how our elected government protects our security, improves and sustains our aspirations and priorities and addresses our concerns and calms our fears and anxieties. This principle No.1 and that is foreign policy begins at home and defines our relations with other nation states. In turn, foreign policy outcomes have a reciprocal effect on domestic political discourse.

As a nation,  Malaysia must see value in an international or bilateral relationship as a way of securing benefits for Malaysians, whether in security, politics or geo–economics. It is an interaction of our wants and needs. And it always involves a give-and-take attitude and disposition. Malaysia must, therefore, aim for win-win partnership that is beneficial, acceptable and sustainable to its united citizenry. This is the second principle.

Finally, a coherent  Malaysian foreign policy based a careful calibration of our national interest must receive the continued support of all Malaysians. It cannot be driven by the political survival needs or whims and fancies of our incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cohorts at our collective expense.

The Zakir Naik case is a case in point. How can we as a people accept this Islamic extremist wanted in his homeland India  for wanton acts of promoting terrorism, and grant him permanent resident status when thousands of Malaysians born and bred in Malaysia are still stateless. It is not in our national interest to harbor this felon and conceal his whereabouts and deny India its right to bring him to the Indian courts to stand trial.

Mr. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Zahid Hamidi, you are reckless, unconscionable, and irresponsible. Your job is to protect the security and safety of all Malaysians. It is equally your top priority to locate those missing and unaccounted for because they belong to other religions than Islam. Do that or just resign and fire your Inspector-General of Police. As for our Prime Minister, I say this–your day of reckoning is coming to you soon.–Din Merican

Malaysia, UMNO and Zakir Naik: What is the Game here?

by P.

Image result for Zahid Hamidi and Zakir Naik

If the controversial Mumbai preacher Zakir Naik is not in Malaysia, then where is he? Is Malaysia distancing itself from the controversial preacher?

A few days ago, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi assured the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Maicci) that Malaysia would not give sanctuary to any fugitive, even if the fugitive happened to be Zakir Naik.

Zahid also informed the delegation that Zakir was not in the country and his exact whereabouts were not known. Zahid pretended that he was not in the know, but surely he was aware of the movements of Zakir.

Zakir Naik is not just an ordinary person, for he has become an infamous person in international circles. He is not just an occasional visitor to Malaysia, but a very very important person with the status of permanent resident.

But the relationship between the Malaysian authorities and Zakir Naik might not be the same anymore. There is a slow but sure attempt to distance themselves from the actions of Zakir. In short, Zakir is no longer a ‘darling’ to the Muslim masses in Malaysia, or elsewhere.

Two warrants of arrest have been issued by the authorities in India for his arrest for alleged involvement in terrorist and money-laundering activities. The Indian authorities impressed upon a Mumbai court to issue the warrants, having provided the necessary evidence of the alleged nefarious activities of Zakir Naik.

Recently, it was only after India sought the red notice alert through the Interpol that Zakir Naik might have realised that India was serious about arresting him.

Malaysia has probably realised that Zakir’s presence in the country and his allegedly incendiary speeches might not be conducive to the long term interests of the country. Zakir single-handedly, through his speeches, caused apparently irrepairable damage to ethnic relations in the country.

Malaysia might have welcomed Zakir Naik earlier, but his presence in the country seems detrimental to UMNO-BN in the long run. Earlier, his speeches might have appealed to UMNO to gain Malay-Muslim support, but this perception might not be sustainable any longer.

UMNO-BN might have lost substantial non-Muslim support in the past, but it is not willing to write-them off yet, considering the general election around the corner.

Zakir is a popular figure in the Islamic circles in Malaysia. However, the changing political scenario could have rendered him a liability to UMNO and others in the  Barisan Nasional coalition. Zahid might not say it openly, but he is probably embarrassed by Zakir’s presence in the country.

There is a growing realisation in the official circles that Zakir may have outlived his usefulness.

P RAMASAMY is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang and the state assemblyperson for Perai.

6 thoughts on “Malaysia, UMNO and Zakir Naik: What is the Game here?

  1. Honestly Zakir Naik cause me to lose respect for Islamic circle in this country. Fact is religo evangelist like him are all conman. I bet you any amount that if Zakir Naik is told to do the terrorist acts he encouraged he will go on and on with excuses for not doing it. It’s classic con man behaviour.

    He is a piece of crap. The fact so many “respected” people fell for his con give me currency to lose my respect for them

  2. ( My view , for whatever it may be worth ) – :

    Its only in our beautiful Malaysia, that this personality is ” Naik ” …naik, naik , naik, dan tidak turun…..

    In most enlightened Western countries, this guy is definitely ” Turn ” , turun, turun & turun ….. – How ?

    This religion (of Islam ) is a peculiar & difficult religion to understand ! In order to understand its deeper value system, in order to ‘ Naik ” , one has to climb , climb & climb….until one truly reaches the ‘ Top ” , to the pinnacle , the top-most point , like climbing the Everest , of the top=most point of the ” Pyramid ” – the Entirierity of Knowledge…. ( to the Destination ) AND , often IDENTIFIED AS ACROPETAL IN NATURE ( the entire knowledge is Acropetal ( in shape , like the shape of the Pyramid ) – So, if one is CONTINUALLY stuck at the Base-line (of the triangle ) , one will FOREVER MORE… stuck to the Base….Never=ending…..

    ( Up to each Individual whether he wants to be continually STUCK , or proceed in progression , to reach the ‘ Point ” …. ? ) = If not, ‘ Zero ” ….

  3. “The fact so many “respected” people fell for his con gives me currency to lose my respect for them” Bigjoe.

    I am equally puzzled why these so-called learned men are falling for this Mumbai conman’s charms. Perhaps it’s the way he propagates his visions of an Islam devoid of interference from the disbelievers. If he’s looking for an Islamic utopia he should go somewhere where his ideas are acceptable and receptive.

    When a conman is given room to call the shots, that’s when the trouble starts. But can we blame the guy when his sponsors are the source of the problem.

  4. Since nothing happens unless it is the Will of Allah, then obviously Allah has no problem with him?

    So what is your problem?

  5. Malaysians who are not aware of what has happened in India should know that the current BJP govt came into power as a result of Hindi vs Muslim politics. After BJP coming into power RSS and other hindu terrorist organizations (whose members have already been found dead by exploding their own bombs at their faces) started provoking hindus against Muslims on matters of cow meat, id-ul-dhuha, Adhan, etc, which resulted in lynching of many men to death. On top of that the govt called such gau rakhshaks (cow savers) national servent. Not even a single arrest has been made yet in many cases.
    it is pretty obvious that people like dr naik are pain for extremist hindu organizations like BJP & RSS since they feed on communal hatred and because of people like Dr Naik people were becoming Muslim, or at least their misconceptions were answered which lead them live peacefully among Muslims.
    People were trying to find problems with his words since when he started influencing people. Before Bangladesh attack one of the terrorist shared Dr Zakir’s status which media started feeding off. A day of anti dr Zakir show gave them good TRP so they started showing such things daily until people got bored and they started getting low TRPs.
    Such shows initiated SID mumbai probe against Dr Zakir on the demand of state govt which resulted into clean chit and dr naik was allowed to leave the country. The license of IRF was renewed. But then the govt was not satisfied so they suspended 4 officers for renewing IRF’s license.
    And NIA was forced by central govt to probe against Dr Zakir by center.
    Hindu extremists started threatening to behead Dr Naik. Making it a question of life for Dr to return to India.
    The NIA failed to find any proof except that they wanted to question Dr in person which is impossible except for through video conferencing which they refused. Based on dr not returning to India the NIA court issued an arrest warrant.
    The school and free hospital have also been closed despite of having all the licenses and certificates since all bank accounts related to Dr have been ceased for no apparent reason.
    Murders and lynching on Muslims is an act of national service for current govt and removing misconceptions about Islam is a an act of terror.
    Hindraf is yet another Hindi extremist organization trying to feed off of the controversy created by BJP paid media.

  6. @ ATHAR, too complicated for us in Malaysia to try and understand your socio-political Scenario of India…. I am trying to figure it out -because I am curious – to synthesize that what you are saying , is that . its permissible or even justifiable for Dr Zakir to ‘ politicisize ‘ religion (of Islam ) in order to safeguard or protect the Muslim Community , that has been under oppression by the majority Hindu government of India ? Is that , what you are trying to say….?

    Any correspondence or parallel to Malaysia…..? ( TQ )

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