BATU PAHAT: Malaysia denies being pressured by China over the arrest of 11 ethnic Muslim Uighur people who escaped from prison in Thailand last year.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said instead, China has officially requested for Malaysia to extradite the detainees.

Zahid who is also Home Minister said police are also investigating whether the suspects are involved in militant activities such as with the Islamic State.

“It is the responsibility of the police to investigate and they are in fact working with their counterparts from China on this issue. Malaysia stand by the Mutual Legal Assistance agreement it has with China, so there is no issue of any pressure from either party.

“Malaysia had also used the same MLA agreement to extradite our citizens who were apprehended in China for being involved in a syndicate on fake credit cards last year.

“So any parties or other countries should not worry with the steps taken by Malaysia to investigate or even if when we later decide to extradite the 11 ethnic Uighur people,” he said in a press conference here.

Zahid said this after attending a gathering with new students at the Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia University here.

Also present were his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Deputy Ttransport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi dan Vice chancellor Prof Dr Wahid Razzaly.

Zahid spoke on the Uighur detainees in response to a report by Reuters that Malaysia was under pressure to hand over the suspects to China and not Thailand.

He said however there was no time frame set on when the 11 people would be extradited as investigations are still continuing.

In the gathering Zahid reminded the students to be prepare themselves for a challenging future that can be unpredictable especially if they lack competence according to market needs.

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Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says China has officially requested for Malaysia to extradite 11 ethnic Muslim Uighur. Pix by MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN/ NSTP

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