Malaysia has the right to not extradite Islamic preacher Zakir Naik if he will not be accorded justice, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying by The Star, a leading English daily in the southeast Asian country. “Zakir, in general, feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India),” he said.
The Prime Minister also referred to a situation in which Australia refused to extradite Sirul Azhar Umar, former police commando, who was awarded death penalty in Malaysia for murdering one Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu. “We requested Australia to extradite Sirul and they are afraid we are going to send him to the gallows,” he told the daily.
This is perhaps not for the first time that Malaysia has refused to extradite controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who is facing probe in India by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after his sermons on his Peace TV were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016, which claimed 22 lives. The Islamic leader reportedly left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.
Naik’s NGO – Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) – was also declared unlawful in 2016 and is being probed by the ED over allegations of money laundering to the tune of more than Rs. 18 crore.
Despite a formal request last year and continuous pursuance through diplomatic channels, Malaysian authorities refused to send Zakir back. “As long as he is not creating any problem, we will not deport him because he has been given permanent residency status,” the Prime Minister had said last year.