Malaysia looking for more evidence to act on Zakir Naik’s extradition, says Anwar Ibrahim
Kuala Lumpur is looking for more evidence from New Delhi before it can act on any request for the extradition of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said.Updated: Jan 10, 2019 22:36 IST
Kuala Lumpur is looking for more evidence from New Delhi before it can act on any request for the extradition of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said on Thursday.
Last year, India made a request for the extradition of Naik, who was given permanent residency status by the previous Malaysian government led by Najib Razak. Though India has an extradition treaty with Malaysia, current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last July his government will look at all factors before deciding on Naik’s case.
“I’ve seen that Prime Minister Mahathir has already said we are looking into it, we are waiting for more arguments or the case from India, for the Malaysian government to look at it because what we have now is a request to bring back (Naik),” Ibrahim said on the sidelines of a meeting with Indian Muslim intellectuals.
Speaking shortly after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ibrahim said he had made it very clear to the Indian leader “that issues of terrorism, in any way, will never be supported or condoned by the Malaysian government”.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has charged Naik with allegedly inciting youngsters to take up terror activities, giving hate speeches and promoting enmity between communities. Naik is also being investigated for hate speeches that allegedly inspired a terrorist attack on a popular cafe in Dhaka in 2016.
Naik has lived in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia since he left India more than two years ago.
Ibrahim said Malaysia needs India to furnish “documents and reasons” for the extradition request.
“I think you must appreciate the fact that the Malaysian government needs to study this. This is a case mentioned by India, we respect (their views) but the Malaysian government has to look at it and study the case. I’m not in the government per se, but I understand the fact that (Mahathir) is personally looking into it,” he said.
Asked if Malaysia would act once more evidence is provided by India, he replied: “I think at this stage, Malaysia is waiting for the documents. If they say that they have supplied (them), Malaysia will look at it positively and then the government will, of course, have to decide.”
Ibrahim, who was freed from prison last year after the Pakatan Harapan alliance formed by him and rival Mahathir swept to power in elections, is expected to take over as premier when Mahathir steps down. He refused to set a timeframe for the change. “At the right time, I shall assume the premiership,” he said.
During his meeting with Modi, Ibrahim discussed bilateral, regional and global matters of mutual interest. Modi congratulated Ibrahim on being elected president of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the dominant player in Malaysia’s ruling alliance.
“We engaged in a few subjects. Prime Minister Modi met Prime Minister Mahathir recently, and we are keen to ensure bilateral relations stay on the best terms and include education and culture,” Ibrahim said. “India also feels, and we share the concern, that we should extend this understanding and collaboration that covers security interests of the region.”
First Published: Jan 10, 2019 22:36 IST