KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — The Indian government has never requested any help from Putrajaya over fugitive preacher Dr Zakir Naik, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
In a written Parliamentary reply to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, home minister however promised that the government will take action against Dr Zakir if there is proof of his involvement in terrorism activities, amid an investigation by India.
“Additionally, the government also did not receive any official request from the Indian government in relation to the terrorism charges involving him (Dr Zakir).
“However, the government is always monitoring the activities done by Zakir Naik in this country, and will take action if he is found to be involved in terrorism activities,” Zahid wrote.
He was responding to Kok’s question as to whether Dr Zakir has been offered a permanent residency (PR) or Malaysian citizenship, and the rationale behind the government’s alleged “special treatment” to the preacher.
The minister also revealed that the government has never received any citizenship application from Dr Zakir Naik.
This comes as Zahid confirmed in April that Dr Zakir has held a PR status in Malaysia since five years ago. The preacher has also been reported to have gained citizenship in Saudi Arabia, though the information remains unverified.
In his reply, Zahid however denied that the televangelist was given any preferential treatment, adding that throughout Dr Zakir’s stay here, he has never flouted any laws or rules.
Last month, authorities in India clarified that Dr Zakir is wanted for allegedly funding terrorism, rejecting his claim of being targeted due to his religious beliefs. India’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) finally filed charges against the controversial preacher whom it had previously dubbed a “terror suspect” in court last week, the Times of India reported.
The 52-year-old was reportedly charged under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for heading an “unlawful association”; he was also charged with inciting youth to take up terror acts and join global terror groups such as the Islamic State.
Citing from the charge sheet, the news portal reported India’s NIA saying that Dr Zakir’s public speeches had on a number of occasions “led to communal tension… creating serious law and order situations”.
The Indian agency was previously reported to have written a letter to the International Police Organisation asking for a “red notice” for the arrest of the preacher and founder of the Islamic Research Foundation.