It came as no surprise that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reaffirmed his stand on not deporting the controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik amid tremendous pressure from his political allies to rescind his decision.
It is also of no surprise that when the like of YB Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim who are initially critical on the Zakir presence in Malaysia seemed to be embraced on Dr. Mahathir’s decision.
The decision by Dr. Mahathir and the about turn by both Member of Parliament has got nothing to do with politics but it relate to one’s belief to uphold justice, especially to the oppressed which is the basic teaching of all religions.
If politics were to be taken as the main factor related to Zakir issue, then it’s a no brainer for Dr. Mahathir to deport the preacher back to India.
The reason being that by doing so Dr. Mahathir as the Prime Minister will be facing less resistance in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) since groups that demand for Zakir be extradite to India is very vocal within PH.
Basically by refusing to extradite Zakir, more headaches are brought into PH and with the onslaught of this issue by the opposition especially Umno and Pas at the expense of Bersatu and AMANAH.
It can be stipulated that it is quite obvious that local politics do not sway Dr. Mahathir decision but regional politics or to be more precise the current political scenario in India do play a critical role in this respect. It is safe to say that Dr. Mahathir decision has got nothing to do with fishing vote’s strategy especially among the Malay voters.
The BJP lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi obtained a new mandate to govern India with a landslide victory in last May general election as voters endorsed his vision of a muscular, assertive and fundamentally Hindu India. It is indeed a stunning vote of confidence to Modi style of leadership, a charismatic politician that can be considered as right- leaning populist leader.
BJP decision to abolish the longstanding constitutional provision to autonomous India’s only Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of new mandate effect.
It is feared that Zakir will not be accorded justice in India not due to the failure of the Indian court justice system but because of the undue influenced of BJP government towards the Indian justice system since the Zakir issue in India has been laced with religion as the puling factor.
The case of rape and murder of eight-year-old girl from a Muslim nomadic tribe in 2018 that provoked horror and stoked interreligious tensions is case in point how treacherous is the path towards justice.
The trial revealed that the rape and murder were systematic, pre-planned and rooted in religious hatred harboured by Sanji Ram, a Hindu, against the Muslim nomadic community of Bakarwals.
It’s true that Malaysia and India does have extradition treaty that was inked nearly a decade ago but is it a norm for a country to refuse extradition request?
In 2018 London refused the request by Ankara to extradite media mogul Hamdi Akin İpek and three other Turkish nationals for fear of mistreatment by Ankara. London too refused to extradite the infamous British hacker, Lauri Love, citing the inability of U.S. prisons to humanely and adequately treat his medical and mental health ailments.
And Hong Kong for the first time refused to extradite a hacker from Macau to U.S. using the excuse Beijing is pursuing its own criminal investigation. Amsterdam refused to extradite a fugitive wanted by the British authority on drug smuggling charges because the prisons in U.K. in the word of the judge are “inhumane and degrading”.
So it’s just plain common sense that Malaysia decided not to extradite Zakir to India since other countries has been using flimsy excuses to deny extradition requests.