Press Statement

Malaysia is not obliged to provide special treatment to Zakir Naik

18 September 2019

 

We refer to the police reports and threats to file defamation suits by Zakir Naik against five prominent Malaysians who have spoken out against him. The five individuals are Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, former Ambassador Dennis Ignatius, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago.

Malaysia is not obliged to provide special treatment to Zakir, and we strongly urge the government to act against him. Under Malaysia’s immigration law, the government has the discretion to revoke a person’s permanent residence status if their presence in Malaysia is “prejudicial to public order”, which is clearly the case in relation to Zakir.

Zakir has abused his permanent residence status by making several inflammatory statements against non-Muslims and non-Malays, including calling for Malaysian Chinese to “go back” and stating that Malaysian Hindus are more loyal to India’s Prime Minister than our own. Over a hundred police reports have been lodged against Zakir for these statements and consequently the police have barred him from further speaking in public.

Further, India has also requested his extradition to face criminal charges for money laundering in his home country. This request should be honoured, as Malaysia signed an extradition treaty with India. While section 8 of the Extradition Act 1992 imposes certain restrictions on the power to surrender fugitive criminals to requesting states, there is no evidence to justify Malaysia’s refusal to accede to the extradition request.

Although Zakir has alleged that he would be endangered if he were sent back to India, he has neither provided any evidence to support this claim, nor has he applied for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for his claim to be determined.

By his own account, Zakir also has the option to relocate to other countries. Zakir reportedly holds Saudi citizenship and has previously claimed that he has received offers for citizenship from numerous countries.

Given that Zakir has the option of exercising citizenship or residence elsewhere, questions must surely be asked as to why Malaysia is providing special treatment to Zakir who has repeatedly abused his residency status here, when little consideration has been given to other foreigners who have been summarily deported to their home countries, facing much more serious and genuine risk of persecution.

 

Released by:
Melissa Sasidaran
Director
Lawyers for Liberty