Contradicting claims have surfaced as to whether India made a formal request for the extradition of controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik.
Both Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran appeared to suggest that India has not made such a request.
However, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy stated otherwise.
“A formal request has been made. The Indian authorities have informed me of this,” he told Malaysiakini this afternoon.
The Indian media yesterday quoted the republic's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar as stating that the formal request for Zakir's extradition was made in January this year.
"In January this year, we made a formal request for the extradition of Zakir. At this stage I can tell you that our extradition requests are under consideration by the Malaysian authority," Raveesh said.
'This is not about supporting Mahathir'
Meanwhile, Ramasamy reminded Pakatan Harapan lawmakers that the Indian-born preacher's status should not be seen as a yardstick to determine their support for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“It is not about supporting Mahathir, but about the alleged crimes committed (by Zakir) in India,” he said.
The DAP leader also said there is no need to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at this stage.
“Just ensure that the rule of law is enforced in the country,” he added.
Ramasamy was responding to Kulasegaran who said that he would raise the issue with Modi if he met the prime minister during his trip to India.
Yesterday, Gobind, who stated that the matter was discussed during Wednesday's cabinet meeting, said: “The (cabinet) position taken is that once there is a request (by the Indian government), it will be considered on its merits and a decision will be made accordingly.”
In a media statement this afternoon, Kulasegaran echoed the same.
The minister said once the Indian government made the necessary deportation order, Putrajaya would follow the rule of law.
“The bottom line is that the Indian government must make that request,” he added.
Previously, Mahathir said Zakir, who has Malaysian permanent resident status, could remain in the country, provided that he behaves, and that Putrajaya would not bow to pressure on his deportation.