Senior lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla has cited Interpol's position on Zakir Naik to defend Putrajaya's decision regarding the controversial Muslim preacher.
Haniff said although the notice was issued following India's request, it was cancelled several months later by the Commission for the Control of Interpol's files last October.
“So when an international enforcement agency like Interpol is not satisfied with the procedure and supporting facts... it is therefore unfair for critics to point the finger at the Malaysian government for not taking action against Zakir's continued presence in Malaysia,” he added.
Haniff also cited the decision of the appeal tribunal in India headed by Justice Manmohan Singh on Jan 1 this year with regard to the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
He said a court order was issued to prevent the Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED) from taking over the ownership of Zakir's assets, which were seized earlier for alleged money laundering.
Haniff quoted Justice Manmohan Singh as stating that the ED did not produce any prima facie evidence or statements from “such misguided youths” as to “how these speeches (by Zakir) pushed them to commit illegal acts."
"Have you recorded anybody’s statement as to how they were influenced by these speeches? Your charge sheet does not even mention how these speeches played any role in a terror attack in Dhaka in 2015.
"Have you read the speeches which form part of your charge sheet? I have heard many of these speeches and I can tell you that so far I haven’t come across anything objectionable,” the judge told the ED’s lawyer," Haniff quoted Justice Manmohan as saying.
Do allegations against Zakir have a basis?
In view of this, Haniff, who has acted as Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's counsel in the past, said Malaysians must ask if the allegations against Zakir have a basis, or are just mere slander.
Earlier this week, India's NDTV reported that officials of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) revealed that Interpol, which normally issues a red notice within three weeks, has not responded to India's request filed in December.
The officials said it is possible that the international agency was not satisfied with the case against Zakir.
NDTV said India's initial request for a red notice against Zakir was returned by Interpol as a court had not taken cognizance of the case against him. After the legal formalities, it was submitted again in December last year.
"But they (the Interpol) have not even replied back," a senior officer of the NIA told NDTV.
Previously, Mahathir said Zakir, who has Malaysian permanent resident status, could remain in the country, provided that he behaves.
However, various quarters have urged the prime minister to respect the extradition treaty between Malaysia and India.
Zakir's critics have accused him of making hate speeches and belittling other religions.