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Dr M: Modi focused on Kashmir, mentioned Zakir in passing

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi only mentioned preacher Zakir Naik in passing when he met with the former recently, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"He only mentioned Zakir, but he didn't ask for anything. He only mentioned the name but did not elaborate on what the problem was or what he wanted. He didn't elaborate.

"Instead, he focused most of his time to explain the problems in Jammu and Kashmir," Mahathir said at a press conference in Kyoto, Japan today.

A video of his press conference was uploaded by Astro Awani.

Mahathir's explanation is similar to that made by Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah yesterday.

On Thursday, Indian newspapers reported that Modi raised the matter of extraditing Zakir during his hour-long meeting with Mahathir in Vladivostok, Russia, ahead of the three-day Eastern Economic Summit there.

Asked about this, Mahathir said "that is their reports" and reiterated that Modi only mentioned Zakir once and did not bring up the matter of extradition.

Zakir is wanted in India on money-laundering charges, accusations which he denies.

Mahathir had previously expressed concern that the Indian-born preacher would not get fair treatment if extradited to India.

However, the prime minister has said that Zakir's status as Malaysian permanent resident would hinge on the outcome of police investigations into controversial remarks made by the preacher earlier last month.

During a ceramah in Kelantan on Aug 8, Zakir had suggested that Indian Malaysians were more loyal to Modi than Mahathir and also referred to Chinese Malaysians as "old guests".

He has since apologised but claimed that his remarks were taken out of context.

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