KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — The Malaysian government has yet to receive a formal request from India for the extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.
The deputy prime minister said this despite reports of the Indian government having already made a formal request to the Malaysian government seeking the repatriation of its citizen, Dr Zakir, to face money laundering charges back home.
“I have also asked those involved, but at this point, the Malaysian government has yet to receive any form of a request from India to extradite Dr Zakir Naik.
“Our prime minister has said this, and my answer shall be the same,” she said after attending the Pandan constituency Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council field.
It was reported earlier this week how the Indian government has submitted a formal request to its Malaysian counterparts seeking the extradition of the preacher.
The Indian government’s Ministry of External Affairs had through a statement said their justice system was never in question, following allegations by Dr Zakir of how he would not be afforded a fair trial should he return home, where he has also been accused of hate mongering.
Previously, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that Malaysia need not extradite Dr Zakir if he is not going to be afforded justice, where he compared the case to that of Sirul Azhar Umar and the challenges they faced with getting Australian authorities to repatriate Sirul.
Sirul was a former bodyguard who was sentenced to death in 2015 for the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, and is currently seeking asylum in Australia.
Dr Zakir was awarded permanent residency in Malaysia in 2015, then home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi confirmed in 2017.
The preacher has been evading the Indian authorities since 2016, when files were opened against him for allegedly making hate speeches and laundering money after five militants launched an attack at a bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh that ended with 29 dead.
One of the attackers was reported to have claimed that he had been inspired by the preacher’s speeches.
Locally, Dr Zakir has been accused of denigrating other faiths and being a threat to Malaysia’s multi-ethnic and multicultural harmony.