Zakir a permanent resident of Malaysia, says govt

Noel Achariam

DEPUTY Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today confirmed that controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik has been granted permanent resident status in Malaysia.

The news is likely to raise concern among Malaysians, given Zakir’s track record and the fact that India has issued an Interpol warrant against him for promoting terrorism propaganda.

“He holds permanent residence status in Malaysia but he is not a Malaysian,” said Zahid, who is also home minister.

He said Zakir could have received the PR status five years ago, adding that this happened before his tenure as home minister. Hishammuddin Hussein was the home minister between 2009 and 2013.

Zakir was in the news lately after India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it was seeking an Interpol red notice against the Islamic scholar.

Zakir had responded that he was willing to cooperate with the NIA as long as they question him on neutral ground, suggesting they could interview him in Malaysia.

Zahid said Malaysia will cooperate with India if there is a request of mutual legal assistance.

“We can’t investigate Zakir. India can conduct an investigation if they get the MLA.

“We will have to follow the legal system that is in Malaysia and the diplomatic framework of whichever country,” he said after launching the Human Ecology International Conference 2017 in Putrajaya today.

It is learnt that Zakir has also applied for Malaysian citizenship but under the Federal Constitution, the applicant must have stayed here no fewer than 10 years in the 12 years after the application is made. He must also be of good character and know the Malay language.

Zahid said the Muslim preacher was not only living in Malaysia, and it was up to India to ask Malaysia or any other countries if it wanted Zakir extradited.

The Times of India has reported that the NIA is seeking Interpol’s help in listing Zakir under its red notice to curb his movement outside Saudi Arabia where he is currently based, if he fails to turn up for questioning in India.

It was reported Zakir fled India after investigations were launched against him and his organisation, Islamic Research Foundation, for terror propaganda. – April 18, 2017.

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