Rejecting India's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked Malaysia for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's custody, PM Mahathir Mohamad said not many countries want Naik.
On being asked if there is a proposition to return Zakir Naik to India, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said, "Not many countries want him. I met Prime Minister Modi, he didn't ask me for him. This man could also be troublesome for India."
"Zakir Naik isn't a national of this country, he was given permanent status by the previous govt. A permanent resident isn't supposed to make comments on the country's system or politics, he breached that, so now he isn't allowed to speak," the Malaysian PM added.
He also said that Malaysia is still looking for a place to send Zakir Naik who has made racially sensitive comments recently accusing Hindu Malaysians of being more loyal to PM Modi.
We are trying to find some place he can go to but at the moment, no one wants to accept him, said Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir Mohamad's statement comes nearly a fortnight after Prime Minister Modi met his Malaysian counterpart in Russia at the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum meet.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had told media that PM Modi had raised the issue of Zakir Naik's extradition from Malaysia during his meeting with Mahathir.
"Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us," Gokhale had said.
Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had said it will approach the CBI for requesting Interpol to issue a red corner notice, commonly known as RCN, against fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is currently residing in Malaysia, sources said.
Naik is wanted in India for alleged money laundering and delivering inflammatory speeches.
Naik is a known hate preacher whose name prominently figured during the Dhaka bomb blasts in July 2016 that killed many. A bomber later confessed that he was influenced by Naik's messages following which he fled India.
He has been in Malaysia for about three years after he was granted permanent residency in the country following Britain and Canada's refusal to grant him visa.
In this video: PM Modi meets Malayasian PM in Russia, raises issue of Zakir Naik's extradition