KUALA LUMPUR – Indian rights group Hindraf questioned today how controversial Indian Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik qualified for permanent residency (PR) here.
In a statement today, Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy demanded to know if Dr Zakir had satisfied various prerequisites, such as providing a minimum deposit of US$2 million (RM8.81 million), with the source of funds verified; a certificate of conduct from his country of origin and the government agency which provided the certificate, among others.
“Even to qualify under the above criteria, Hindraf believes like other countries in the world, a certain period of continuous residency would be required, in addition to proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia forms among others, as part of the essential criteria to form the point system to qualify for permanent residence. Hindraf fails to see how Zakir Naik would have qualified for the above,” Waythamoorthy said.
“Unless alternatively the previous Home Minister had decided to invoked Section 55 of the Immigration Act with the power to exempt. If so is there a gazette to support as required and the basis of it?” he added.
Section 55 states that the minister may exempt anyone from all or any of the provisions of the Act and issue an order that shall be published in the gazette.
There are five categories of eligibility for those vying for a Malaysian PR, namely: high net worth individuals, experts, professionals, spouse of a Malaysian citizen, or applicants who meet the point system.
The first category is the easiest way to obtain a Malaysian PR as the applicant only needs to open an account with a minimum of US$2 million, while the last category is the most arduous.
In addition to having to undergo a point-based system and achieve a minimum of 65 points out of a total of 120 in order to be considered, applicants using this system must also have one Malaysian sponsor, as well as a certificate of good conduct from their country of origin.
Hindraf also raised doubt as to why Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had kept mum previously, despite Dr Zakir having been granted the PR status five years ago.
“When Hindraf was in the Department of Prime Minister, we had provided with a comprehensive white paper within the ambit of the constitution to resolve the estimated 300,000 stateless Indian community who have been living all their lives in this country since the independence in 1957 yet it was brushed aside without a wink.
“Now we have the current administration which we believe are acting ultra vires by circumventing the constitution and its requirement as seen in the case of Zakir Naik without any accountability and responsibility towards the nation and its people,” Waythamoorthy added.
Waythamoorthy, who was once appointed as a Senator and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department after Datuk Seri Najib Razak assumed office in 2013, quit after expressing regret with the Barisan Nasional (BN) government for allegedly failing to uphold its promise for the Indian community.
In his statement, Waytha also demanded a clarification from Zahid as to how many foreigners have been given PR status “under the radar”, when many Malaysia-born ethnic Indians are left in the lurch without their due identity cards (ICs).
News portal Malaysiakini yesterday quoted Zahid as saying that Dr Zakir was given a PR status five years ago, quickly asserting that the status was given before he assumed role as the Home Minister.
Malaysiakini reported Zahid as saying that Dr Zakir, who is wanted by Indian authorities for terrorism investigations, was not just staying in Malaysia, but in other countries too.
At a conference in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday, Dr Zakir told the Indian government to locate him in Malaysia amid its plans to seek Interpol assistance to curb his movements out of Saudi Arabia, after several summonses for him to appear before the authorities were ignored.
Indian news site Times of India reported Saturday that Dr Zakir had been frequently travelling to Malaysia and Indonesia from Saudi Arabia.
He allegedly fled to Saudi Arabia after investigations were commenced on him and his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, for terror propaganda.
– Malay Mail