Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik said on Tuesday August 20th he was sorry for saying that Hindus in Malaysia have "100 times" more rights than India's Muslim minority, AFP reported.
Calls for his expulsion rose following his racist remark and he responded by saying Chinese Malaysians should be thrown out before he was.
Naik, who once suggested that Al-Qaeda was not responsible for the September 11th 2001 attack on the US, moved to Malaysia from India, where he faces accusations of inflaming fanaticism and money laundering in 2016.
Malaysia declined to hand him over to India last year. The police interrogated Naik for ten hours on Monday over a possible deliberate insult that sought to disturb the peace. But Naik, on Tuesday, claimed that what he said was taken out of context, citing "strange fabrications".
"It was never my intention to upset any individual or community.
"It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding."
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused Naik of overstepping the mark and some of his cabinet ministers called for his expulsion, state news agency Bernama reported.
He is prohibited by the police from speaking publicly anywhere in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s government used to tread around Naik with caution to avoid angering Muslims and giving the opposition new opportunities for protest.