Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has set a dangerous precedent with his presumption that Zakir Naik would not be accorded a fair trial in India, said former MIC president Dr S Subramaniam.
“Should we start this game of judging the judicial systems of foreign countries according to our own convenience and political choices?
“What if foreign countries do the same to our system?” he added in a statement posted on Facebook.
Subramaniam pointed out that India has the third largest number of Muslims in the world after Pakistan and Indonesia.
“Will a large number of Islamic institutions in India keep quiet if Zakir is mistreated and persecuted, as prejudged by Mahathir.
“Don't worry Mahathir, there are enough people in India including his own followers who will ensure he gets a fair trial,” he added.
On Monday, Mahathir said Malaysia had the right to determine if the controversial Indian-born preacher would receive a fair trial if deported.
He was commenting on a news report that India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to secure an arrest warrant against Zakir and others in an ongoing trial heard by a special court in Mumbai under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002.
According to the report, the Mumbai court would decide whether a non-bailable warrant of arrest should be issued against Zakir at its next hearing scheduled for June 19.
The ED would then request for an Interpol red notice against the Indian-born preacher, as well as extradition from Malaysia after obtaining a non-bailable warrant from the court.
Zakir, who has claimed that the allegations against him are false, was given Malaysian permanent resident status by the previous BN administration.
Meanwhile, Mahathir had also likened Zakir's status to Malaysia's request to Australia to extradite murder suspect Sirul Azhar Umar, who is being held an immigration detention centre in Melbourne.
“We have a prisoner (Sirul) who fled to Australia. We asked Australia to send him back, but Australia said he would be hanged if sent back. So Australia has disagreed to do so until now.
“So we are also entitled to determine if the person we send back would be given fair justice as well,” he had said.
Mahathir's remarks also drew brickbats from Pakatan Harapan lawmakers such as DAP's Ramkarpal Singh who warned of bilateral tension risks.