KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Minister M. Kulasegaran said today that the issue of deporting televangelist Dr Zakir Naik was discussed in the last Cabinet meeting, and it was decided that the Attorney General (AG) will only be consulted following a formal request from India.
The human resources minister said he will also bring up the matter with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi when he leaves for an official visit there.
“Let the Indian government make the necessary deportation order and we will follow the rule of law, but the bottom line was that the Indian government must make that request,” the Ipoh Barat MP said in a statement.
“This is the right way of doing things, it is not right for the government nor one man to decide this matter, it should be decided by law in the courts as they have the duty to dispense justice.”
He said the matter was raised in the Cabinet meeting by him, and fellow ministers Gobind Singh Deo and Xavier Jayakumar.
Kulasegaran also defended Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark that Dr Zakir can stay in Malaysia provided he does no wrong or not cause any unrest.
“I assure the people that when I go to India and if I have the chance to meet the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I will discuss this matter with him as well,” the minister said.
According to Indian media, India’s Ministry of External Affairs had formally requested Dr Zakir’s extradition in January. Barisan Nasional was in power then.
The controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir had earlier this week expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian government for not deporting him home to India.
He also expressed disappointment over some local media reports, which he claimed had tarnished his image by linking him to terror-related activities, and accused him of delivering hate speeches.
The Mumbai-born Islamic televangelist is also wanted by the Indian government for alleged money laundering besides terrorism.
He is under investigation for issuing alleged hate speeches that inspired the 2016 terror attack on a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh.