PUTRAJAYA (Sept 20): Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said today he can vouch for the statement made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not make an extradition request for Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik during their recent meeting in Russia.
Saifuddin in a statement today said he was present at the meeting between the two leaders in Vladivostok on Sept 5.
He said Dr Mahathir was simply and truthfully stating the matter-of-fact about what transpired during his meeting with Modi.
Dr Mahathir had in response to media enquiries about Zakir maintained that Modi did not make extradition request for Zakir.
“He (Modi) did mention Zakir Naik. But, he didn’t ask for Zakir Naik to be sent to India,” said Dr Mahathir in a news conference after launching the Foreign Policy Framework of the New Malaysia on Wednesday.
India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar however reportedly said Modi did broach the topic of Zakir's extradition with Dr Mahathir.
"I can certainly vouch for this truth since I was personally present in that meeting between the two leaders. Noticeably, my counterpart the Minister of External Affairs of India was not,” said Saifuddin following unfriendly comments made by some parties doubting the fact and the truth spoken by Dr Mahathir.
Saifuddin urged those parties not to speculate and make baseless allegations.
"Malaysia and India have strong and comprehensive relations for more than six decades. These strong multifaceted ties have been mutually benefiting the peoples of the two countries,” he said.
Saifuddin said those comments were not only cynical and misleading but also far from the truth.
"Those comments are, therefore, uncalled for,” he said.