PETALING JAYA: Controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik (pic) mocked the Indian media, saying that he was never granted a Malaysian citizenship.
The well-known televangelist, whose Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has been banned in India, chided the media for creating the rumour when they previously claimed that he had been banned in Malaysia.
“Not true at all,” Zakir’s spokesman Arif Malik was quoted as saying by Indian news portal Janta Ka Reporter on Sunday.
“Till a few months ago, the Indian media had been saying I was banned in Malaysia, and now they’re saying I’ve got Malaysian citizenship. That’s ridiculous. And there’s no truth in the Malaysian citizenship rumour,” Malik said, quoting Zakir’s exact words.
A Hindustan Times report on Saturday alleged that Zakir, who is under probe by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), was currently hiding in Malaysia and had been given citizenship by the local authorities.
He was earlier suspected of being in Africa or Thailand.
Quoting an unnamed representative of the religious scholar, the publication said he was offered the citizenship as a package deal when he was awarded the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award back in 2013.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has since denied the report, saying that Malaysia did not grant automatic citizenship to anyone unless they were born in the country to Malaysian parents.
The Pulai MP also said that applying to become a citizen was a lengthy process and he did not think Zakir would want to apply to become a naturalised citizen.
NIA officials have in recent days conducted raids at several commercial and residential properties owned by Zakir, and have seized several documents which allegedly indicated that the IRF had sponsored a would-be terrorist planning to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.