PETALING JAYA: A human rights group has called on Putrajaya to act against Dr Zakir Naik, saying Malaysia is not obliged to provide special treatment to the controversial preacher.
In a statement, Lawyers for Liberty director Melissa Sasidaran said under immigration laws, the government could revoke a person’s permanent resident status if their presence is prejudicial to public order, which is said to be the case with Naik.
“Naik has abused his permanent resident status by making several inflammatory statements against non-Muslims and non-Malays, including calling on Malaysian Chinese to ‘go back’ and stating that Malaysian Hindus are more loyal to India’s prime minister than our own.”
More than 100 police reports have been lodged against Naik for these statements and, consequently, the police had barred him from further speaking in public.
India is also seeking Naik’s extradition to face criminal charges for money laundering in his home country.
In a recent interview with business radio station BFM, Mahathir said Modi had not asked for the preacher’s return during their recent meeting.
Although section 8 of the Extradition Act 1992 imposes certain restrictions on the power to surrender fugitive criminals to requesting states, there is no evidence to justify Malaysia’s refusal to accede to the extradition request, Melissa said.
“Even though Naik has alleged that he would be endangered if he were sent back to India, he has neither provided any evidence to support this claim nor has he applied for refugee status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for his claim to be determined,” she said.
By his own account, Naik also has the option to relocate to other countries, she added.
Naik reportedly holds Saudi citizenship and has previously claimed that he has received offers for citizenship from numerous countries.
Melissa said: “Given that Naik has the option of exercising citizenship or residence elsewhere, questions must surely be asked as to why Malaysia is providing special treatment to Zakir who has repeatedly abused his permanent resident status here, when little consideration has been given to other foreigners who have been summarily deported to their home countries, facing much more serious and genuine risks of persecution.”