Will not easily give in to India’s demand to deport Zakir Naik, says Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad

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Kuala Lumpur | Updated: July 26, 2018 5:33:12 PM

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad today said his government would not give in easily just because India demanded that controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik.

Malaysian prime minister said his government would always ensure it looked into all factors before responding to any demand. (AP)

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad today said his government would not give in easily just because India demanded that controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik should be deported for alleged terror activities and money laundering, a media report said.

Three days after meeting Naik, wanted in India for alleged terror activities and money laundering, the Malaysian prime minister said his government would always ensure it looked into all factors before responding to any demand.

“We do not easily follow the demands of others. We must look at all factors before we respond,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

“Otherwise, someone will become a victim,” he said.

Responding to questions on Naik, who is has permanent resident status in Malaysia, and India’s request to have him extradited, Mahathir said the government would always ensure it looked into all factors before responding to any demand.

Mahathir last week said the cleric would not be handed over to Indian authorities as he had been granted Malaysian permanent resident status.

The prime minister said Zakir, who left India in 2016, would be allowed to stay in the country as long as he was not creating any problem.

However, the decision did not sit well with several groups, who insisted the government return Zakir to India following his alleged tendecies to make racial and religiously insensitive statements, the report said.

India had made a formal extradition request for Naik to be returned to the country after accusing him of inciting youngsters to commit terror activities through his hate speeches.

A strategist of Malaysia’s ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) had also defended Prime Minister Mahathir’s decision not deport Naik to India, saying doing so would be akin to deporting Uighur Muslims to China.

PPBM strategist Rais Hussin said he personally could see no wrong in Naik’s activities and speeches.

Deporting him would be akin to deporting Uighur Muslims to China, he said, referring to China pressing Malaysia for the extradition of 11 Uighur men who entered Malaysia illegally last year after their dramatic escape from a jail in Thailand last year.

Zakir has also accused the media in India of subjecting him to a campaign of vilification over the past two years.

He has also pledged to expose fake news about him soon.

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