RJ Rithaudeen: Mahathir should stop politicising Zakir Naik and focus on the economy

Yesterday, Mahathir told newsmen the Government of Malaysia (GoM) was still searching for a place where Zakir would be accepted. Source (pic): TTF

Indian Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar rebutted Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that Narendra Modi did not request the extradition of Dr Zakir Naik when the two leaders met in Vladivostok, Russia earlier this month.

When Mahathir went to Russia, he was there on the official invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, not Modi.

So, unless Modi told Mahathir in no uncertain terms that Zakir could stay put in Malaysia, his ‘lack of insistence’ simply means he did not want to delve deep into a subject that had nothing to do with his Russian visit.

I think it’s high time Mahathir stopped messing with the minds of the people.


SUBANG JAYA: Indian Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar rebutted Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that India’s premier Narendra Modi did not request the extradition of Dr Zakir Naik when the two leaders met in Vladivostok, Russia earlier this month.

Speaking to newsmen, Jaishankar, who confirmed that the issue did come up during Modi’s meeting with Mahathir, added that India already placed a request with Malaysia for Naik’s extradition in January.

“There is an extradition request for Zakir Naik. We want him back and that is what we are working towards,” he said.


Jaishankar spoke the truth.

Yesterday, Mahathir admitted that Modi made mention of Zakir and that the Government of Malaysia (GoM) was still searching for a place where the preacher would be accepted.

“We are trying to find some place where he can go to but at the moment no one wants to accept him.

“India has not insisted. I met Mr (Indian Prime Minister Narenda) Modi,” he told Breakfast Grille on BFM89.9.

The thing is, to say that Modi did not insist on Zakir’s extradition does not mean the matter was not discussed. It simply means the Indian PM did not put in a request “forcefully and (or) persistently.”

In no way does it imply or even suggest that Modi does not want Zakir to be sent back to India.

As a matter of fact, on the 12thof June 2019, India’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that the Indian government did make a formal request to Malaysia to extradite Zakir on charges of spreading extremism and money laundering.

Besides, when Mahathir went to Russia, he was there on the official invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, not Modi.

So, unless Modi told Mahathir in no uncertain terms that Zakir could stay put in Malaysia, his ‘lack of insistence’ simply means he did not want to delve deep into a subject that had nothing to do with the reason he was in Russia.

I think it’s high time Mahathir stopped messing with the minds of the people.

RJ RITHAUDEEN


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