KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has urged certain parties to not speculate or make baseless allegations over Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent remarks on controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
He said such comments are cynical and misleading, as well as far from the truth, and thus, uncalled for.
“The Honourable Prime Minister was simply and truthfully stating the matter-of-fact about what transpired during his meeting with the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi, on September 5, in Vladivostok, the Russian Federation,” Saifuddin said in a statement.
The minister said he can vouch for the truth of the matter as he was personally present in the meeting between the two prime ministers, but also added that his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was not.
“Malaysia and India have strong and comprehensive relations for more than six decades. These strong multifaceted ties have been mutually benefiting the peoples of the two countries,” Saifuddin said.
Indian press reported that Dr Mahathir and Modi discussed several issues on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum in Russia, which included extraditing Dr Zakir to India where he is currently wanted for money laundering and inciting hate speech.
However on Wednesday, the prime minister maintained that although Modi mentioned Dr Zakir during their meeting, he did not make any extradition request.
Similarly Dr Mahathir said the preacher remains a guest in Malaysia as he is considered undesirable by other countries, adding that the government is seeking to send him somewhere else but for the moment no one wishes to accept Dr Zakir.