The police has issued a directive to bar controversial preacher Zakir Naik from holding public talks, nationwide.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Mazlan Mansor issued the order in an internal memo to all police contingents nationwide, and this was confirmed by Bukit Aman corporate communications head Asmawati Ahmad.

"The order is done for the sake of national security and to preserve harmony between races," she was quoted saying by New Straits Times.

Prior to the police order, seven states, namely Melaka, Johor, Selangor, Penang Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak, have banned the Indian-born preacher from holding talks.

Yesterday, Naik, who holds a permanent resident status here, was grilled by the police for 10 hours over his speech in Kelantan that said Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than they are to Malaysian premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He was also questioned the first time, last Friday.

He had also told critics who asked him to be deported to India, where he is facing money laundering and extremism-related charges, to first ask the Chinese, who are also considered "guests" here, to leave first.

Meanwhile, Naik in a statement, has apologised for "the hurt" caused to non-Muslims by his speeches, but claimed that he was not a racist, and that his remarks were selectively used, with added fabrications.

"I have always been a man of peace because that's what the Quran stands for. It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world. Unfortunately, I do face detractors who try to prevent me from carrying out my mission."

"As you must have noticed for the past few days, I am being accused of causing racial discord in the country and my detractors have been using selected sentences taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them," he said in a statement this morning.

He further urged the public, especially non-Muslims, to listen to his speeches in their entirety, to prevent a recurrence of such "misunderstanding".

Mahathir, who had previously said Naik will not be deported to India as he may not receive a fair trial under the country's Hindu nationalist government, said that the preacher had "overstepped the boundaries" by touching on racial politics with his comments against the Chinese and Indians.

Source: New Straits Times, Malaysiakini
Photo source: The Star