Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today reiterated that Zakir Naik will remain in Malaysia despite calls from his own cabinet minister and the ruling party for the controversial preacher to be extradited back to India.
However, he said Malaysia would welcome any other country willing to take in Zakir.
“The problem we face is that we cannot send him back (to India) because there is a risk of him being killed. So, he is here (in Malaysia) today.
“But, if any other country wants to have him, we (will) welcome it,” Mahathir told a press conference after attending the 21st anniversary of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
Last month, Dr Mahathir had said that Malaysia is not keen for Zakir to be here, but is hard-pressed to deport him elsewhere as “many countries” will not accept the controversial Islamic preacher either.
When asked for his opinion on Zakir’s recent inflammatory remarks questioning the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to the country, the prime minister cryptically said this should instead be referred to the community in question.
In a speech in Kota Baru recently, Zakir was reported to have compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100 per cent rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India.
He also alleged that the Hindus here were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Dr Mahathir.
When asked if he agrees with Zakir that local Hindus were more loyal to Modi than him, Mahathir said he had no idea.
“You go and ask them lah… How do I know? ” he said.