MALAYSIA remains steadfast in its stand not to accede to India’s request to deport controversial preacher Zakir Naik, said Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said the government’s reason for not deporting the preacher was the same as mentioned before – that it was unsure if Zakir would be afforded a fair trial in India.
However, he said Putrajaya would send an official letter to New Delhi soon to state its reasons in a more legal and diplomatic way.
Saifuddin said he would discuss the contents of the letter with Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.
“He wanted us to give specific reasons for our refusal. We need to refer to the A-G on this and get the cabinet’s approval.
“However, our stand remains the same. For this official letter, there is a proper way and manner to dictate it,” he said after an event in Bangsar last night.
Saifuddin added Putrajaya will work swiftly in complying with Indian’s request for an official letter.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously said Malaysia was reluctant to send Zakir back to India as it was likely the preacher would not face a fair trial there.
Dr Mahathir had also said Zakir faced security risks if he was sent to India.
The Mumbai-born preacher faces terrorism-related and money-laundering charges in India.
The Malaysian permanent residency holder is also facing police investigations here for his controversial speeches aimed at non-Muslims communities.
Saifuddin also said Malaysia’s stand on Zakir should not be politicised.
He said Zakir was not the only individual wanted by other governments to be extradited.
“India is not the only country that has made a request to us to deport its citizens. And, Zakir is not the only one who we have rejected to deport.
“There are others, too, but that has not become an issue like this.
“Our decision to deport or not is not made based on pressure from any government, but is based on our own decision.”
– THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT