PETALING JAYA: DAP’s M Kulasegaran has urged the government not to “take sides” by providing a safe haven for fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in Malaysia.
This followed reports that authorities in India were waiting to investigate him on allegations that his speeches spread terrorist propaganda.
Instead, the Ipoh Barat MP called for the government to work together with India to eliminate any crime or wrongdoing.
“The government should not be protecting him. If it was a similar situation for others, the government would have deported him and not taken sides,” he told FMT today.
Earlier today, Kulasegaran had posted on Facebook, saying: “As long as Zakir remains in Malaysia, he will drag Malaysia further down. At the back of the minds of the Indian community in this country, it appears that a fugitive is given better protection than the local Indians.”
He said there was no reason for Malaysia to act as a safe haven for Zakir, adding that it would more likely embarrass the country in the international arena.
Kulasegaran, who is also a lawyer, said Zakir should go back to India and clear his name.
“Zakir out of nowhere has become somebody in Malaysia with his speeches and Perkasa honouring him for his contributions,” he said, referring to Malay right-wing group Perkasa which yesterday presented Zakir with its warrior award for his contributions towards the struggle of Islam.
“Why is he reluctant? Now he is saying Muslims are not treated fairly in India. These are arguments that hold no water because money laundering has nothing to do with this. There is a huge amount of money being transferred here and there.”
Kulasegaran was referring to an April 15 news report in the Hindustan Times saying the Indian enforcement directorate had filed a charge sheet against Aamir Gazdar, a confidante of Zakir’s, and Harmony Media Limited – a company floated by Zakir – for allegedly laundering money on his behalf.
The Indian authority’s 1,000-page charge sheet lists Zakir as an accused in the case. It includes the statements of witnesses and several documents which establish the trail of laundered money.
The Times of India has also reported that the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) will seek an Interpol notice against Zakir to curb his movements outside Saudi Arabia if he fails to turn up for a probe on his activities.
This came after the controversial Indian preacher had defied repeated summonses.
The report quoted an NIA official as saying the “red” notice would be issued once a non-bailable warrant against him is procured.
Last November, India banned Zakir’s Islamic Research Foundation for five years, citing his “objectionable and subversive” speeches.
Zakir has said he is willing to be questioned by authorities in India, but only through virtual media as he claimed he would be tortured if he goes back to India.