Ramasamy: Malaysia handicapped if Zakir Naik stays here

P-Ramasamy-zakirnaikGEORGE TOWN: It is a big liability to keep Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik in Malaysia, DAP’s P Ramasamy said as it would only strain diplomatic relations with India.

Ramasamy, who is DAP’s deputy secretary-general, said the authorities here ought to help Indian law enforcers since Malaysia recently became a party to a counter-terrorism initiative with India.

Ramasamy said the local authorities should also urge Naik to return to India to be investigated for money laundering, rather than offering him “safe haven” here.

“If a Malaysian criminal seeks refuge in India but does not come back to Malaysia to face charges, how would you feel?

“If he (Naik) is brave and has done nothing wrong, he should return to India to be investigated.

“If he is cleared, come back and apply for citizenship,” Ramasamy told FMT.

Ramasamy added that news of Naik being given permanent resident status here was surprising.

“He is trying to split Muslims and non-Muslims. Why are we harbouring him? It is ridiculous,” Ramasamy said.

Indian counter-terrorism body, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), is probing money laundering charges that allegedly involve the Islamic Research Foundation, founded by Naik.

Last weekend, Naik said he did not wish to go back to India to answer questions from Indian police, fearing he would be tortured.

Earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia would assist Indian authorities if there was a request for mutual legal assistance or through diplomatic channels.

The Times of India reported on Saturday that the NIA was seeking a Red Notice from Interpol after Naik defied repeated summonses to help in the probe into his affairs in India.

The Red Notice is the closest instrument to an international warrant of arrest.

Last month, Malaysian police successfully obtained a Red Notice from Interpol to arrest four North Korean men wanted for questioning in the murder of Kim Jong Nam at klia2 on Feb 13 this year.

Asked if Malaysian police would comply with such a notice and arrest the controversial preacher, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar simply said: “Let them apply first.”

Former information minister Zainuddin Maidin also took a dig at Zahid’s statement on Naik’s PR status, suggesting that it gave the preacher the right to meddle in Malaysian politics.