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No one is above the law

  • Zakir must be handed back to the Indian authorities in view of the excellent ties between our two countries as well as the spirit of rule of law.

Sin Chew Daily

Malaysians are puzzled over the lack of action from the enforcement authorities against Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik over his seditious remarks made during a public speech. No review of his permanent residence status in this country either.

Zakir is on the wanted list of the Indian government for triggering hatred and hostility among religious groups through his public speeches in that country.

The attackers in the 2016 terror assaults that claimed the lives of 22 in Dhaka were all Zakir’s followers. The Bangladesh government instantly suspended a TV station which aired Zakir’s speech.

Zakir’s speeches are widely circulated in the social media, prompting a number of countries, including the UK, to ban him.

Zakir has been well received by the Malaysian government since he was awarded permanent residence in 2012, and has been permitted to hold public speeches here.

The extradition request by the Indian government has been largely ignored by Malaysia.

Former DPM Ahmad Zahid said the preacher had not violated any law of the country and that we had never any extradition request from New Delhi.

After Pakatan Harapan took over the government, Zakir has been accorded the same kind of warm reception. Prime Minister Tun Mahathir said Zakir would not be deported as he would face the risk of being killed.

Mahathir has also said Malaysia welcomes other countries willing to take Zakir.

Zakir has not been personally involved in any terrorism-related or extremist activities, but his speeches are highly provocative and inflammatory. Under Malaysia's law, any act of sedition and provocation could be interpreted as instigation, and Zakir must not be spared from his legal liability.

Politicians have come to Zakir's defense in order to advance their own political needs without realizing that his words and actions could potentially threaten our social order as well as religious harmony. The risk is simply too large for us to take.

Malaysia is a country run on the rule of law. No one is above the law.

If we refer to the provisions under the country's Penal Code, Zakir’s words and actions have clearly violated the law. Unfortunately he has been largely tolerated by the authorities, causing many to misconstrue that double standards are being practiced. This will definitely hurt the spirit of the rule of law in this country.

In a similar manner, Zakir is on New Delhi's wanted list as he has violated the law of India, a country which upholds the rule of law.

Having acted against the country's law, Zakir must face his charges in the Indian court. If he maintains that he is innocent, he must prove himself in the court instead of running away.

Zakir must be handed back to the Indian authorities in view of the excellent ties between our two countries as well as the spirit of rule of law. This will help restore the withering faith of Malaysians in the new government.

 

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