KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― On-the-run televangelist Dr Zakir Naik has laughed off claim he was awarded Malaysian citizenship by the Indian media yesterday.

According to Islamic preacher, whose current whereabouts is unknown following an investigation by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) back home, the claim was just another rumour.

“Not true at all,” Dr Zakir said through his spokesman, Arif Malik, to Indian news portal Janta Ka Reporter, when asked about his Malaysian citizenship.

“Till a few months ago, the Indian media had been saying I was banned in Malaysia, and now they’re saying I’ve got Malaysian citizenship. That’s ridiculous. And there’s no truth in the Malaysian citizenship rumour.”


Indian news outfit Hindustan Times cited unnamed representatives of Dr Zakir as saying that the Mumbai-based televangelist’s so-called Malaysian citizenship had come as a “package” together with his “Tokoh Maal Hijrah” award that he received from Malaysia in 2013.

The publication also claimed that Dr Zakir now holds dual Indian-Malaysian citizenship although Malaysia does not allow such a thing.

Hindustan Times said the fact that Dr Zakir is purportedly a Malaysian citizen on Malaysian soil would complicate investigations, as Malaysia has not allowed any extradition to India despite signing a treaty in 2010.


The Muslim preacher is believed to be currently in Malaysia.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed dismissed the report last night, saying Malaysia does not automatically confer citizenship on anybody, unless said person is born in the country to Malaysian parents.

Earlier this month, Times of India reported that the Indian government had imposed a five-year ban on Dr Zakir’s NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).

The daily reported that India’s NIA is mulling terror charges against Dr Zakir, reportedly based on testimonies of about 50 terror suspects and convicts recorded from various jails, with those caught citing him as their motivation and source of inspiration.

In April this year, the state of Terengganu offered Dr Zakir three islands for the preacher to open a branch for IRF, in addition to a religious school.