I write in response to a news article titled “Apologise to King over Zakir Naik insult, Ramasamy told” published on May 18, 2016 by FMT.
It was reported that Teluk Bahang assemblyman Shah Headan bin Ayoob Hussain Shah, in his motion of thanks to the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, had demanded that the Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang, P. Ramasamy, apologise to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for calling Zakir Naik “satan”.
Shah Headen was of the view that insulting a person who has received an award from the King is tantamount to insulting the King himself.
First of all, let there be no confusion that Ramasamy used the word “satan” as a figure of speech. Certainly, he was not testifying that Naik is the Satan.
The controversies surrounding Naik are not unknown to the public. According to a news article published on Dec 10, 2012 by Hindustan Times, the globally renowned Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband in India, slammed the religious views of Naik in a fatwa and at the same time urged the Muslims there to ignore his teachings.
The same fatwa also states that Naik is a ghair muqallidin, a term used to describe those whose teachings are not directly based on any one of the four accepted schools of Sunni Islamic thought.
Last year, Mangalore City Police issued a prohibitory order banning Naik from entering the city in Karnataka, India due to his radical thoughts and disparaging remarks on other religions.
The president of Vishwa Hindu Parishat, MB Puranik, argued that Naik has been making derogatory speeches by mocking Hindu gods. He has been speaking against Hindu religious practices including idol worship. Moreover, he has shown disrespect to an Indian patriotic song “Vande Mataram” and called upon the Muslims in India not to sing it.’
If a person is ignored and not welcomed by the religious and legal authorities of his own country, then there is certainly no reason for that person to be invited into our country. It is for this very purpose Ramasamy opposed Naik’s public talks in Malaysia.
Now, whether or not Ramasamy has any right to insult Naik is beside the point. The point is, however, by no stretch of the imagination can we conclude that calling Naik “satan” is equal to going, in the words of Shah Headen, ‘against the spirit of the Federal Constitution and affected the credibility of the King.’
If the above is a possibility, then what about the shameless incident of doing butt-exercises in front of Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house? Is not that also an insult to the Perak royalty since Ambiga was conferred with a datukship by the Sultan of Perak?
Ramasamy categorically said in his press release dated April 12, 2016 that his facebook posting was not against Islam or Muslims in general but against Naik in specific.
Before making frivolous demands and wild accusations against Ramasamy, Shah Headen should have taken note of the facts that Ramasamy fought for the Muslims in the troubled Aceh in the early 2000s and further acted as an adviser during the signing of the Helsinki MOU between the Indonesian government and Free Aceh Movement.
Consequently, Aceh was bestowed with a special territory status while Ramasamy’s contract as a professor of political science at UKM was sadly not renewed. He paid the price for advocating a noble cause!
Therefore, I see no reason for Ramasamy, with all due respect, to apologise to the King for what he said about Naik.
On the contrary, I call upon Shah Headen to apologise to all Malaysians for using the King’s name to earn political mileage for himself through the performance of cheap publicity stunts, like the one mentioned here.
Shamsher Singh Thind
Legal Adviser to P. Ramasamy
Publicity Secretary, DAP Chai Leng Park Branch
c.c. P. Ramasamy