After recent calls for the deportation of Islamist Preacher Zakir Naik from Malaysia, authorities have now barred the fugitive religious leader from giving speeches in the country. The police say this was done for national security reasons.

Royal Malaysia Police Head of Corporate Communications Datuk Asmawati Ahmad, who confirmed the order said, “Yes. Such an order has been given to all police contingents, and this was done in the interest of national security and to preserve racial harmony,” in comments she made to the Malay Mail.

The coastal state of Malacca joined six other states to prohibit Naik from publicly speaking. The six are Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak, according to The Star (an English-language newspaper in Malaysia). All the states object to Naik’s combative way of spreading the word of Islam.

Datuk Md Rofiki A. Shamsudin, the director of Johor Religious Islamic Department (JAIJ) explains that “Any religious preacher must get the necessary approval from JAIJ before they are allowed to conduct religious talks. This is to ensure these preachers do not say anything against our creed or aqidah (Islamic term meaning creed).” The director said that no such approval had been given to Naik.

Naik caused a public outcry with his comments that Hindus in the Southeast Asian country had "100 times more rights" than the Muslim minority in India, and that they support the "prime minister of India and not the prime minister of Malaysia". He also faces money laundering charges in India and possibly has links to terrorism.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Naik had overstepped the bounds between preaching a religious message and making a political speech. He said that Naik “can preach but he wasn’t doing that ... he was talking about sending the Chinese back to China, Indians back to India, that’s for me a political move,” according to state news agency Bernama.

Controversy seems to follow Naik. In a 2008 video interview he suggested that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the twin towers in New York was not the work of al-Qaeda but that it was an inside job by the U.S. government. In the video he claims that former President George W. Bush was behind the plot and said, “Even a fool will know that this was an inside job.”

In 2010 Naik, who founded the Peace TV channel that has a huge global following, was barred from entering Britain and in 2016 India banned The Naik Foundation based on allegations of promoting religious division in the country.