Syahredzan Johan gets death threat after proposing withdrawal of Zakir Naik’s PR status

Syahredzan said he will lodge a report over the threat today. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Syahredzan said he will lodge a report over the threat today. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan alleged that he received a death threat via Facebook yesterday after he suggested that authorities rescind controversial India-born preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s permanent resident status here. 

The political secretary to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang posted screenshots of the threatening messages on Twitter this morning.

"So I got this in FB. Not sure what powers he thinks I have," Syahredzan wrote.

Syahredzan also appended a screen capture of the poster’s Facebook page that identified him as a resident of Damansara.

In the message, the Facebook user threatened to decapitate the lawyer.

"You are a bastard. You expel Dr Zakir Naik, I will hunt you until I find you and I will separate that pig head of yours from your body. This I swear for the sake of Islam and the Malay race," the person wrote.

He later accused Syahredzan of paying “Indian boys” to protect him, claiming none would do so unless there were rewarded with pay.

Syahredzan said he did not know who his anonymous defenders were but thanked them nevertheless.

Separately, Syahredzan told the Malaysiakini news portal he will lodge a report over the threat today.

He also clarified that he did not call for the preacher’s extradition or deportation, noting that he purely suggested authorities revoke the latter’s PR status and allow Dr Zakir to choose his next host country himself.

The previous government awarded Dr Zakir his PR status in 2015.

Dr Zakir, who is wanted in India on charges of money laundering and incitement, was reportedly granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia in 2017 after he was stripped of his Indian passport.

Syahredzan made the proposal as a solution to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who previously said Malaysia did not want to host Dr Zakir but no other countries would take him.

On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir alleged that Dr Zakir runs the risk of being killed if the controversial televangelist is deported to his native India to face charges of money laundering and inspiring terrorism.

Dr Zakir has been evading Indian authorities since 2016, when files were opened against him for allegedly making hate speeches and laundering money after five militants launched an attack on a bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh that ended with 29 dead.