PETALING JAYA: The home ministry maintains that controversial Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik is not receiving “special treatment” although he does enjoy permanent resident (PR) status in Malaysia.
This was contained in a written answer to Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh), who asked why Naik had yet to be arrested by Malaysian authorities.
The government said there was no reason to arrest Naik for alleged terrorism as he had not violated any Malaysian laws.
“Besides, the government has not received any official request from the Indian government in relation to allegations that he was involved in terrorism activities.”
In her question, Kok also wanted the government to state the reason why Naik had been granted PR status.
The ministry said PR status was granted to Naik five years ago according to the procedures set by the Immigration Department.
“According to our records, there was no citizenship application submitted to the National Registration Department,” the statement added.
The ministry, however, said the government would continue to monitor Naik’s activities in the country and would take action if he was suspected to be involved in terrorism.
On Nov 18, 2016, India’s National Investigation Agency lodged a criminal case against Naik in Mumbai, invoking the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
India also declared Naik’s Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation an “unlawful association.”
It was reported that Naik has been stripped of his Indian citizenship and has an Interpol Red Notice out on him calling for his arrest.
Believed to have PR status in Saudi Arabia, Naik also claimed to have been offered citizenship by at least 10 governments but had not decided which he should accept.
In March, 19 individuals, including Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy and lawyer Siti Kasim, filed a suit against the government for allegedly harbouring the controversial preacher.
They claimed he was capable of threatening national security and harmony, and had encouraged terrorism in public.
They also sought a court order that Naik be considered a threat to Malaysia, and a court order to stop him from coming to the country or remaining here, if he was already in the country.