The government has denied that Muslim preacher Zakir Naik was awarded Malaysian citizenship.
This comes after Hindustan Times in India reported that Zakir is in hiding Malaysia where he has obtained citizenship.
"We do not give citizenship automatically unless the person is born in the country to Malaysian parents," said Nur Jazlan told The Star Online.
Nur Jazlan added the preacher is "not an important religious personality" for the Southeast Asia region.
"He is more Indian and South Asia-centric but some of his ideas can be used here; that's why he was warded the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award," he reportedly said.
Hindustan Times quoted an unnamed source as saying that Malaysia commonly offers citizenships to those it confers awards to.
The Indian authorities have banned his Islamic Research Foundation, purportedly for encouraging extremism.
Zakir has a warm relationship with politicians on both sides of the divide in Malaysia, with PAS and BN leaders taking to social media to share pictures of their meetings the preacher.
They include PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
His plan to hold a talk comparing Islam and Hindusim sparked an outcry, prompting the authorities to ban the event.
The ban was lifted after the topic was changed to 'Is Quran the word of God?'
READ: Your Kiniguide to Muslim scholar Zakir Naik
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