The Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says in reply to questions on the extradition request for the preacher by the Indian government.
Malaysia faced internal and external pressure to deport the controversial figure who has been roaming the country freely, preaching and holding debates in universities.
His activities caused much havoc among Malaysians, with some intellectuals calling for his deportation and querying Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the reasons Malaysia is ‘harbouring’ a terror suspect and a ‘preacher who promotes terror and racial division’.
A columnist in Malaysiakini wrote with sarcasm on how Malaysia is a great country but nationality was not given to some Malaysian born but the Malaysian elite is defending a Permanent Resident holder, Zakir Naik.
The issue has divided Malaysians to the core, with several locals calling for a petition to force the government to deport Naik but several people calls the portals that criticise the preacher ‘anti-Islam’ and calls on them for their ‘daily’ coverage of Zakir Naik’s deportation requests.
Some Malaysians are also asking Naik’s detractors to provide video evidence or any other evidence the latter is involved in terror or is preaching terror.
The Malaysian minister yesterday says Naik’s name is not in a list of individuals for whom there is a request to locate and provisionally arrest pending extradition.
Interpol is duty bound to issue a red notice at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a. valid national arrest warrant.
Malaysia says Zakir Naik entered Malaysia freely and in accordance to procedures and adheres to the rules, regulations and laws of the state.
The minister also denies reports on social media that Zakir Naik was given special treatment or passage but acknowledges that Malaysia had received a provisional arrest application from the government of India, based on a diplomatic note on Dec 29, 2017.
This was then followed up by an official application of extradition for Zakir from the government of India on Jan 19, 2018 but Malaysia is using a provision in a treaty of extradition between the two governments which allows for non-extradition of individuals deemed to be in danger of not getting fair trial and being pesecuted for race, religion or political beliefs.
A number of Malaysian ministers tried to force Dr Mahathir’s hands last year pressing him in the Cabinet to deport Zakir Naik but the elederly statesman did not budge.