DAP: Explain Zakir Naik’s PR status and why it was given

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PETALING JAYA: Following news that controversial preacher Zakir Naik, from India, holds permanent residency in Malaysia, the DAP’s M Kulasegaran wants the government to explain why it withheld such “crucial information”.

The Ipoh Barat MP also wants the government to state its criteria for giving Naik the PR status.

He said the home ministry should not have held back such information from the Malaysian public.

“They are releasing bits and pieces of information. Why didn’t they release the information when they were asked earlier if Naik had been given Malaysian citizenship? The onus was on them to say he was a PR holder and not a citizen. They should have been open (about the issue),” he told FMT.

Kulasegaran also asked what special circumstances had warranted the government’s decision to grant him permanent residency.

“What criteria was used to grant him the PR status? Can he converse in Malay, and how long has he been in the country that he has been given permanent resident status?”

He said the government should state the number of other preachers given “safe sanctuary” in the country, urging it to come clean on the matter.

Earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi admitted that Naik had been given permanent residency in Malaysia more than five years ago, adding that it was issued before his time in charge of the ministry.

Last November, though, Zahid’s deputy Nur Jazlan Mohamed dismissed a news report that Naik had been granted Malaysian citizenship and that he was hiding in the country.

Nur Jazlan said then that becoming a Malaysian citizen was a lengthy process, and that any report saying the preacher was a citizen was just an allegation.

He defended his answer today when asked why he had not mentioned Naik’s PR status then.

“PR is not citizenship,” he told FMT. “The question asked at that time was on citizenship.”

Zakir Naik is wanted for questioning in India for alleged money laundering and other unlawful activities.