Modi did not ask for Zakir: Mahathir

18 Sep 2019 / 18:29 H.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the issue of sending controversial preacher Zakir Naik back to India didn’t arise when he met his Indian counterpart Narenda Modi.

“I met Modi but he didn’t raise the issue (of extradition). He did mention about Zakir but he didn’t ask for Zakir to be sent back to India,” Mahathir said after the launch of Wisma Putra’s foreign policy framework in Putrajaya yesterday.

He was responding to Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar’s comments that India had asked for Zakir’s extradition.

Jaishankar had said the Indian government has been “persistently and relentlessly” pursuing the extradition of controversial preacher.

He also rebutted Mahathir’s claim that the issue of Zakir’s extradition was not brought up in a meeting between the former and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Russia earlier this month.

“... the Indian expectation (for Zakir to be extradited) was communicated and it was decided that officials concerned should meet.

“Let me make it very clear for the record. There is an extradition request (sent in January 2018). We want Zakir Naik back and that is what we are working on,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Zakir caused controversy last month when he insulted the Chinese community in Malaysia and had also questioned the loyalty of the Hindus here during his speech in Kelantan.

Over 100 police reports have been made against Malaysian permanent resident since, with the authorities later issuing a gag order to prohibit him from speaking in public and social media.

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