Modi didn’t ask me to return Zakir Naik, says Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad
Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi did not request him to return controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi did not request him to return controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is a fugitive in India and has taken shelter in the Asian nation.
Mahathir added that Modi, whom he met in Russia during an economic forum earlier this month, made no extradition request for Naik despite an official notice from New Delhi, reports Malay Mail.
"Not many countries want him. I met with Modi. He didn't ask me for this man," Mahathir told the Kuala Lumpur-based BFM Malaysia radio station on Tuesday morning.
This comes as contrary to what Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on September 14 that PM Modi had raised the issue of Zakir Naik with Malaysian PM
Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik’s extradition during his meeting with Mahathir, Gokhale said. “Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us,” the foreign secretary said while briefing the reporters
Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to the largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency. He is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.
On Tuesday, Mahathir also reaffirmed that Naik will no longer be allowed to publicly speak in Malaysia following his racially divisive remarks which include saying that the Chinese should be sent back to China. He said that the city of Putrajaya is still looking for a place to send the 53-year-old Naik.
"Well, he's not a national of this country. He has been given, I think by the previous government, permanent residence status. A permanent resident isn't supposed to make any comments on this country's systems and politics. He has breached that. He is now not allowed to speak.
"We are trying to find some place he can go to but at the moment, no one wants to accept him," the Prime Minister added.
Last month, Naik was banned from delivering public talks in every state in Malaysia by the police in the interest of national security.
On August 3, he said that Hindus in Malaysia get "100 times more rights" than the Muslim minority gets in India, and yet they support the "Prime Minister of India and not the Prime Minister of Malaysia".