KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed dismissed today a news report alleging that Indian televangelist Dr Zakir Naik has been given Malaysian citizenship.
“Not true,” Nur Jazlan told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
“There are many processes to follow and it takes decades to become a citizen,” he added.
Nur Jazlan also told The Star Online that Malaysia does not automatically confer citizenship on anybody, unless said person is born in the country to Malaysian parents.
The Pulai MP said he did not think that Dr Zakir would want to apply for Malaysian citizenship.
Indian news outfit Hindustan Times cited unnamed representatives of Dr Zakir as saying that the Mumbai-based televangelist’s so-called Malaysian citizenship had come as a “package” together with his “Tokoh Maal Hijrah” award that he received from Malaysia in 2013.
The publication also claimed that Dr Zakir now holds dual Indian-Malaysian citizenship although Malaysia does not allow such a thing.
Hindustan Times said the fact that Dr Zakir is purportedly a Malaysian citizen on Malaysian soil would complicate investigations, as Malaysia has not allowed any extradition to India despite signing a treaty in 2010.
The Muslim preacher is believed to be currently in Malaysia.
Earlier this month, Times of India reported that the Indian government had imposed a five-year ban on Dr Zakir’s NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
The daily reported that India’s National Investigation Agency is mulling terror charges against Dr Zakir, reportedly based on testimonies of about 50 terror suspects and convicts recorded from various jails, with those caught citing him as their motivation and source of inspiration.
In April this year, the state of Terengganu offered Dr Zakir three islands for the preacher to open a branch for IRF, in addition to a religious school.