Gov't not just careful with Zakir's extradition request, but all others
The government is being careful with all extradition requests, including for Zakir Naik, says Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
This comes after public criticism of double standards on the Pakatan Harapan government’s stand on the extradition of the controversial preacher.
According to The Malaysian Insight, Saifuddin said that each extradition request is scrutinised on a case-by-case basis based upon pro-democracy, pro-human rights and pro-rule of law standards, as advocated by Putrajaya.
“We will be more careful. We will look at their cases on a case-by-case basis.
“For example, there can be some reports against someone by certain countries or international organisations. On our part, we will validate that information,” he said.
Previously, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said they wanted to ensure Zakir would be given a fair trial in India before agreeing to the extradition request.
“The position remains the same," Saifuddin (photo) was quoted as saying.
"If it is believed that he may not be given a fair trial, should we send him back? That is what it is."
Critics had pointed to the government’s decision in May to deport a Thai political dissident wanted on charges of insulting royalty in the country.
However, Saifuddin said Putrajaya has since decided to be more careful.
“I guess now the government has come out with a decision that we will be more careful in sending people back,” he said.
Saifuddin said the Harapan government will try to examine extradition requests in context.
“Say a country for the first time has a properly democratically elected government but due to some deep state incident, that government is dethroned.
“And some persons seek refuge in our country and then you have an extradition request by the new government. We will have to think twice and validate that information.
“Because we are supposed to be a pro-democracy, pro-human rights administration that believes in freedom and the rule of law. So yes, now the government is saying they will be more careful and validate all the information,” he said.
Zakir, who is now a Malaysian permanent resident, is wanted by Indian authorities over money laundering charges, which the preacher claims are false.
On June 28, Saifuddin had confirmed that Malaysia received a request from India for the extradition of Zakir.
Before this, the preacher said he would return to India if the Supreme Court guarantees that he would not be arrested or imprisoned until he is convicted.
He was responding to the order for him to appear before India's Special Court on the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Mumbai on July 31.