MALAYSIA - 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 controversial Muslim preacher, Malaysian media reported on July 8.
The meeting, which may not go down well in New Delhi, took place on July 7, a day after Dr. Mahathir ruled out deporting Dr. Naik unless he breaks Malaysian laws. Dr. Naik has permanent residency status in Malaysia, .
“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 Dr. Naik discussed with Dr. Mahathir in their first meeting since the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition assumed power in Putrajaya, the report said. The meeting, which was unscheduled, was said to be brief, it said.
The meeting between Dr. Naik and Dr. Mahathir comes a day after the Prime Minister gave the clearest indication yet that the Malaysian government would not deport Dr. 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 confirmed on July 4 that an official request had been made.
But on July 6, Dr. Mahathir said that the government would not deport Dr. Naik <link> as he has been granted Malaysian permanent resident status, unless he causes trouble in the country.