The Prime Minister’s Office today dismissed as "baseless" a report by an India-based TV channel, which claimed that controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik had been rewarded with land and a broadcast slot.
"It has been brought to our attention that an Indian-based television channel circulated a report through various social media outlets claiming that the Malaysian government had rewarded Zakir with land and a ‘slot on Malaysia’s national broadcaster’.
"We would like to clarify that these allegations are baseless," the PMO said in a statement, though not identifying the TV channel.
Last Friday, Zakir was charged in his home country of India with money laundering.
He is alleged by New Delhi's Enforcement Directorate to have acquired US$28 million (RM116 million) worth of assets criminally.
With millions of followers around the world, including in Malaysia, Zakir is often accused of insulting other religions in his sermons.
Peace TV, which the preacher founded in 2006, has been banned in India as well as in Bangladesh, following the deadly 2016 Islamist terrorist attack in Dhaka.
On Wednesday, it was reported that several cable operators in Sri Lanka ceased carrying the satellite TV network after the Easter Day bombings last month.
Prior to being charged with money laundering charge, Zakir was already a wanted man in India for charges related to terrorism and hate speech.
The preacher, who currently resides here after being granted permanent residence by the previous BN government, has denied any wrongdoing and claims to oppose terrorism.
Zakir had previously expressed his gratitude to the current Pakatan Harapan government, after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he would not be sent back to India to face charges as long as he did not break local laws.
He also claims that his image had been tarnished by a group of "religious fanatics."