Mahathir stands by Malaysia’s right not to extradite Zakir Naik

In July last year, Zakir Naik had an unscheduled meeting with Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya. (Facebook pic)

MELAKA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reiterated Malaysia’s reluctance to allow the extradition of controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik.

In remarks to the media today, Mahathir likened the Naik case to Malaysia’s effort to bring home convicted killer Sirul Azhar Umar from Australia. “We requested Australia to extradite Sirul and they are afraid we are going to send him to the gallows,” he was quoted as saying.

Mahathir said Malaysia had the right not to allow Naik to be extradited if he would not be accorded justice.

“Zakir Naik in general feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India),” he said.

The prime minister had stated in the past that Malaysia would not give in easily to demands made by other countries. In July last year, he said: “We must look at all factors before we respond. Otherwise, someone will become a victim.”

Indian authorities have filed money-laundering charges involving about RM115 million against Naik, who has been granted permanent residence in Malaysia.

A Mumbai court is expected to decide on June 16 whether a non-bailable warrant of arrest should be issued. If granted, India would seek Interpol assistance to have him detained and sent back for trial.

Naik has also been accused of inciting enmity and hatred between different religious communities in his preaching.