Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has met Zakir Naik, wanted in India for alleged terror activities and money laundering, and a ruling party strategist has stoutly defended the government’s decision not to deport the Muslim preacher, Malaysian media reported on Sunday.
The meeting, which may not go down well in New Delhi, took place yesterday, a day after Prime Minister Mahathir ruled out deporting Naik, who has permanent residency status in Malaysia, unless he breaks Malaysian laws. “I can confirm that Naik went to see Tun (Mahathir) this morning (Saturday),” Free Malaysia Today reported quoting a source as saying.
It is unclear as to what Naik discussed with Mahathir in their first meeting since the ruling Pakatan Harapan assumed power in Putrajaya, the report said. The meeting, which was unscheduled, was said to be brief, it said.
The meeting between Naik and Mahathir comes a day after the prime minister gave the clearest indication yet that the Malaysian government would not deport Naik, who is wanted in India over allegations of money laundering and terrorism.
There had been intense media speculation in India that the Malaysian government would act on an extradition request made in January. The Ministry of External Affairs had confirmed on Wednesday that an official request had been made.