Wisma Putra or AGC must clear the air and the matter brought to court so that public will know why India wants him, says a senior federal official.
PETALING JAYA: Clear the air about Zakir Naik, a senior official of the Pakatan Harapan federal government said today, urging the foreign ministry or the Attorney-General’s Chambers to state whether a formal request had been received for the extradition of Naik, a controversial Indian-Muslim preacher.
The official said the two government agencies appeared to be contradicting each other.
“The government needs to establish the facts. Either the foreign ministry or the Attorney-General’s Chambers must immediately come out and clear the air as to whether they have received a formal request from India to extradite Zakir Naik.”
He raised the possibility that the Indian government might be mistaken about whether Putrajaya had received its request for the extradition of Naik.
“The government may not have received it yet,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
However, a lawyer representing the Hindraf group and 20 other societies said Zaik must be made to leave.
R Kengadharan said that the Pakatan Harapan government should be firm.
“If we really treasure harmony and peace, the presence of Zakir Naik here is a threat. His speeches are capable of rocking our peculiar cradle of democracy,” he said.
The prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, recently said the government would not deport Naik “as long as he is not creating any problems” here.
Zaik, a popular televangelist, has been accused by Malaysian groups of making inflammatory remarks against other religions.
News reports in India have said that investigating agencies have filed a criminal case against Naik and others in December after a complaint by the anti-terrorism National Investigations Agency under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In February, Aamir Gazdar, a close aide of Zakir Naik, was arrested in Mumbai in connection with a money-laundering investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Gazdar was alleged to have handled cash and transactions worth 200 crore rupees (about RM118 million) on behalf of Naik and his Islamic Research Foundation.
Two weeks ago, FMT reported that the Indian foreign ministry had said an official request had been made to Putrajaya in January for Naik to be deported for investigation into allegations of money-laundering and terrorism (video above).
However the senior Pakatan Harapan official said today any extradition process should be decided on the merits of the application.
“It depends on what they are alleging. It seems India is looking to extradite him on money laundering offences.
“The Malaysian public needs to be told what exactly India is alleging. It may have nothing to do with him being an extremist.”
Once the extradition process is brought to court, the public would have a clearer picture on what grounds Naik is wanted by India.
This week, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, of DAP, said the government would act based on the rule of law.
He said a decision would be made once the case was put forward, while another minister, M Kulasegaran, also of DAP, said Naik’s fate should be decided by the courts and not by “a single individual or the government”.
Kulasegaran said Putrajaya would follow the rule of law should New Delhi submit a request for deportation.