Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said that Islamic preacher Zakir Naik was not barred from Malaysia because he did not break any law in the country. However, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy begs to differ on this.
Describing Zakir as a “fugitive” who is wanted in India, Ramasamy noted that Zakir has also been linked to crimes such as money laundering and terrorism for uttering hate speeches against non-Muslims.
Protecting Zakir “from the long arm of the law”, he said, reflected badly on Malaysia.
He urged Malaysia to make a stand on Zakir instead of “flirting with terrorists and scoundrels”.
“Do you think non-Malays are going to vote for BN with these kinds of individuals running down the country?” he asked.
Ramasamy (photo) said Malaysia has a responsibility to curb terrorism.
“When Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak went to India, didn’t the two countries sign an agreement to curb terrorism?
“This is a challenge for Malaysia. We should not be harbouring someone like Zakir Naik when India wants him there to face charges,” the Perai assemblyperson told Malaysiakini.
Last Sunday, Zakir spoke at a dialogue organised by Malay rights pressure group Perkasa in Kuala Lumpur.
Mumbai's Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court has issued a non-bailable warrant of arrest against Zakir.
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) is seeking an Interpol red notice against him.
To this, Zakir expressed his preference to be questioned in a “neutral” land like Malaysia, claiming he would be tortured if he returns to India.
Denying charges of terrorism and hate speech against him, he said Muslims are being treated unfairly in India, adding that he has proof to back his claims.
India is a democracy
Refuting his claims, Ramasamy said Zakir’s view on India was “a complete nonsense”.
“I am sure India is not a totalitarian country but a democracy. Besides, India is the second largest Muslim nation in the world.”
Ramasamy said while Zakir continued to seek protection in Malaysia, the local authorities should contemplate on what if a similar person from Malaysia being sought for crime in India. India would surely send him back.
He said Malaysia and India must respect each other’s right to question suspects and persecute criminals.
“Zakir might be a fantastic Muslim preacher, but he spreads hatred,” Ramasamy claimed.
“If he has nothing to hide and is not linked to terrorists, he should return to India and face the charges, stand trial or let the authorities there question him.”- Mkini