PUTRAJAYA: Controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik (pic) has permanent resident (PR) status in Malaysia, given to him about five years ago.
Confirming this, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that Malaysia, however, is not the only country in which the controversial Muslim preacher resides.
“Zakir Naik has a Malaysian PR but he is not a citizen, and he stays in other countries, I reckon,” he told the media on Tuesday.
In November 2016, the Home Ministry denied Indian media reports that the televangelist had been granted Malaysian citizenship as a “package deal” when he was given the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award here in 2013.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said that while there was no basis for Malaysian authorities to initiate an investigation into Dr Zakir, they would render assistance to Indian authorities if both countries have a mutual legal assistance agreement.
On April 15, the Hindustan Times reported that the Indian enforcement directorate had filed a charge sheet against Aamir Gazdar, a confidante of Dr Zakir, and Dr Zakir’s company Harmony Media Ltd, for allegedly laundering money on his behalf.
The 1,000-page charge sheet lists Islamic Research Foundation president Dr Zakir as an accused in the case.
The Times of India has also reported that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will seek an Interpol “red corner notice” against Dr Zakir to curb his movements outside Saudi Arabia if he fails to turn up for questioning.
A red corner notice is an international arrest warrant circulated by Interpol on behalf of a government.
This came after the televangelist defied repeated summonses.