KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has not received New Delhi’s request to extradite controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik until now, says Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Wan Azizah said Putrajaya maintained Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stance to reject any request from New Delhi to deport the preacher.
“I did ask Dr Mahathir, but for now, the government of Malaysia will not accept any requests from India to extradite Naik.
“The prime minister has answered, so that is our answer,” she told reporters when met at the Pandan parliamentary constituency open house today.
Previously, Mahathir had said that Putrajaya had the right to reject any request by India to deport Naik, who is facing charges of misappropriating RM115 million.
The prime minister reportedly said it was the same as Australia’s refusal to send home Sirul Azhar Umar, who was found guilty of killing Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Following Mahathir’s statement, India’s external affairs ministry’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India will continue pursuing its request for Naik’s extradition.
Mahathir’s decision was well-received by Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin who said vocal critics of the preacher were more loyal to India than to Malaysia.
Asri, one of Naik’s vocal supporters, also urged the Muslim community to support Mahathir’s stance which does not bow down to “the cruelty and discrimination in India”.