Even as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that extradition of the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik from Malaysia is “nearing completion”, some Malaysian ministers have questioned the authority of “a single individual” to decide on the deportation when their Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad appeared to protect the controversial televangelist's interests. “We do not easily follow the demands of others. We must look at all factors before we respond,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

The MEA, in January, had requested Malaysia to deport Naik who is accused of giving hate speeches and inciting youngsters for terror activities.

However, Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran said that it was not right for the government nor one man to decide this matter and rather it should be decided by the law in courts.

“Let the Indian government make the necessary deportation order and we will follow the rule of law, but the bottom line is that the Indian government must make that request,” said Kulasegaran, as reported Today Online.

Kulasegaran, according to reports, also said that Prime Minister Mohamad was right in saying that Zakir Naik could stay in Malaysia, provided that he did not cause any unrest.

The minister assured that he would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his official visit.

Kulasegaran's view is shared by Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo as well. “We have to follow the rule of law. As far as the government is concerned, India has stated that it has a case. “So, I think what needs to be done is once the case is put forward, the decision will be made whether to send him back or not,” he said.

Meanwhile, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press briefing, "At this stage, our extradition request is under consideration of the Malaysian authorities. We do maintain through the ministry and our High Commission in Malaysia regular touch with the Malaysian authorities in this regard”

Naik, who is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under terror and money laundering charges, left India in July, 2016. However, he claimed that he has never promoted terror in 25 years of preaching.

If reports are to be believed, the Malaysian government gave him a plot of land for his studio. Naik has thanked the government of that country for the virtual asylum. “I am humbled to be a part of this diversity, and I also acknowledge the sensitivities it entails. I would never wish to disrupt or jeopardise this balance in any way or to break the rule of law of this country because it is my primary concern to foster the social harmony currently enjoyed by its citizens,” he said on 12 July in a statement carried by the Malaysian media.