Dr M Says Modi Didn't Ask For Zakir Naik's Return But Indian News Reports Claim Otherwise
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad revealed today, 17 September, that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not make an extradition request for Zakir Naik
Dr Mahathir said Modi did not ask for Zakir to be extradited when they met during his three-day working visit to Russia for the 5th Eastern Economic Forum 2019 earlier this month.
Speaking on BFM's 'The Breakfast Grille' this morning, Dr Mahathir said not many countries want the controversial preacher.
"I met with Modi. He didn't ask me for this man," said the 94-year-old premier, as quoted by Malay Mail.
However, earlier reports on the two Prime Ministers' meet-up said that Modi did raise the discussion of Zakir Naik's extradition
According to Business Standard, India had made a formal request to Malaysia for Zakir's extradition. He is wanted in India on money laundering and hate speech charges.
India's External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on 12 June that the fairness of Indian justice system "has never been in question" after Dr Mahathir claimed that Naik might not get a fair trial there.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia "has a right not to extradite" Zakir, Business Standard reported.
Putrajaya is still looking for a country to send Zakir Naik to after he caused social unrest in Malaysia
Despite the discrepancy between the Indian media and Dr Mahathir's claim today, the premier reaffirmed that Zakir will not be allowed to conduct any public speeches after the latter accused Malaysian Indians of being more loyal to Modi and labelled Malaysian Chinese as "old guests".
"Well, he's not a national of this country. He has been given, I think by the previous government, permanent residence status," Dr Mahathir said.
"A permanent resident isn't supposed to make any comments on this country's systems and politics. He has breached that. He is now not allowed to speak.
"We are trying to find some place he can go to but at the moment, no one wants to accept him."