KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry will send an official letter to the Indian government to explain Malaysia’s stance for not sending controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik back to his country of origin.
Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said in parliament on Thursday (Nov 7) that he would discuss with Attorney-General Tommy Thomas about preparing the contents of the letter.
“There was a request from India and Prime Minister (Mahathir Mohamad) had already explained why we didn’t send (Zakir) back.
“During my meeting with my counterpart from India (Subrahmanyam Jaishankar) last week in Bangkok during the 35th ASEAN Summit, he had politely raised the issue and had asked us to send a letter as an official reply from us,” he said as he wound up debate on the Supply Bill 2020 for his ministry.
Mr Zakir, who is a Malaysian permanent resident, is wanted in India for charges of money laundering and hate speech.
The Malaysian government has refused to accede to an extradition request from India, which was made in January 2018.
Dr Mahathir had said that Malaysia has the right not to extradite Mr Zakir on the claim that that he would not receive a fair trial in India.
The prime minister also said that Mr Zakir could not be sent back to India for fear that he might be killed. “If any country wants to have him, they are welcome,” he said, according to Bernama.
In August, the Malaysian police banned Mr Zakir from public activities after his racially sensitive remarks sparked outrage.
He had said in a speech in Kelantan that Hindus in Malaysia had “100 times more rights” than the Muslim minority in India and that they support the prime minister of India instead of the prime minister of Malaysia.