Zahid was bombarded with questions on Zakir Naik by numerous Members of Parliament during his budget wind-up speech in the Dewan Rakyat today.
- Malaysia will send Zakir back if India asks
- No need to review PR status
- Monitoring Zakir’s videos and transcripts
In response to calls for him to explain the status of the controversial preacher in Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government would comply with an extradition request by India if it were to be made.
However, he stressed that no such request has been received on the controversial Muslim preacher.
“During my visit to India, I met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Zakir was among the topics we discussed. Currently, there is no extradition request for him.
“However, if India requests that he be extradited via Mutual Legal Assistance, we will comply,” Zahid said.
Responding to remarks by Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) who read out excerpts from an article by The Hindustan Times published on May 30, 2017, which claimed Zakir had applied to be a Malaysian citizen, Zahid revealed that as of today, there has been no application by Zakir for Malaysian citizenship.
Zahid added that despite India revoking Zakir’s passport, Malaysia would not revoke the televangelist’s permanent residency (PR) status here, as he had not violated any local laws.
“I have not received any details. I just read what was reported in the media as to why his passport was cancelled. That, we respect the laws of a foreign government, but we as a legitimate government here, we follow the laws provided here.
“As long as he does not violate the laws, and did not do any wrong, what more like Ipoh Barat (MP, M Kulasegaran) had said, that he had encouraged terrorism, that he had encouraged things which involve the degrading and criticising of other faith. We never received reports on that,” Zahid said, in response to DAP’s Batu Gajah MP, V Sivakumar.
He said Zakir’s application for permanent residency in Malaysia is in compliance with the terms and conditions set by the Immigration Department and the National Registration Department.
Zahid also said that the government has been monitoring Zakir’s videos and transcripts locally and overseas, and has found no terrorism element promoted by the Muslim preacher.
“We have gone through all of his speeches and none of them was found to promote terrorism, and we are still monitoring his talks and speeches.
“The allegations of promotion of terrorism by Zakir were interpreted by organisations abroad, especially in Dhaka. That was their own perception of his speech,” Zahid said.
Last week, Indian news agency, ANI, reported that India will request for the extradition of the fugitive preacher from Malaysia soon, quoting an announcement by its Ministry of External Affairs.
“We seek the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition which requires a legal process internally first,” ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar was quoted telling a press briefing.
“We are nearing the completion of this exercise, once this exercise is completed. Soon we will make an official request to the Malaysian government on this matter.”
Authorities in India have accused Naik of funding terrorism, and India’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) last week filed charges against him in court, the Times of India reported.
The 52-year-old was reportedly charged under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act with inciting youths to take up terror acts and join global terror groups such as the Islamic State.
On Oct 23, the Malay Mail Online reported that PAS wants Malaysia to refuse India’s request demanding the return of Zakir.
Apparently, according to PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan, Zakir was a well-respected individual and that claims that the latter was radicalising or preaching terrorism was untrue.
“Malaysia does not need to abide to the request by the Indian government on Dr Zakir.
“PAS and Malaysians who stand by the truth will always defend Dr Zakir from being extradited to India,” Nasrudin said in a statement, according to the report.
Putrajaya awarded permanent residency to Zakir five years ago.
He was also awarded the prestigious Tokoh Maal Hijrah in 2013 in recognition of his contributions to Islam.
It has been reported that Zakir also has PR status in Saudi Arabia.
He has been stripped of his Indian citizenship and has an Interpol Red Notice on him calling for his arrest.
In 2012, he was denied entry into Canada and Britain after reportedly expressing support for terrorist group al-Qaeda.