PUTRAJAYA – International preacher from India, Dr Zakir Naik, has a permanent resident status in Malaysia and not a Malaysian citizen, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the preacher did not reside in Malaysia but stayed in several other countries.
“He (Zakir) obtained the permanent resident status five years ago, but he is not a Malaysian citizen,” he said when asked whether Zakir was a Malaysian citizen.
He said this to reporters when approached after officiating the Human Ecology International Conference 2017, here today.
In November last year (2016), the Hindustan Times in India reported that Zakir had been given Malaysian citizenship but this was denied by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
Commenting on the report that the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) which was reported to have decided to get a notice from Interpol on Zakir, Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia was prepared to give full cooperation if the Indian government applied for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in the investigation on Zakir.
“MLA can be obtained if that particular country has relations and agreement with our country,” he said.
Asked whether Malaysia would hand over Zakir to India, Ahmad Zahid said it was not a matter of ‘handing over’ but involved investigation.
“We follow our country’s legal system and follow the existing diplomatic framework. If there is a request (MLA) we will give full cooperation,” he said.
Recently, the Indian NIA decided to obtain an Interpol notice on Zakir to prevent his movement out of Saudi Arabia after he repeatedly ignored the summons so that an investigation could be carried out on him.
Zakir is alleged to have incited the young Muslim generation to be involved in violence and encouraged enmity between the communities based on religion and race.
However, at a conference in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday, Zakir was reported to have asked the Indian government to look for him in Malaysia.
Zakir was alleged to have fled to Saudi Arabia after an investigation was initiated against him and the non-governmental organisation that he patronised, the Islamic Research Foundation, regarding the alleged propaganda on violence. – BERNAMA