International rights groups have slammed the deportation but Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia was not a safe haven for fugitives.
Jeddah-based newspaper columnist Hamza Kashgari was detained Thursday at the Malaysian airport while in transit to New Zealand.
He was deported Sunday despite fears from rights groups that he may
face the death penalty if charged with blasphemy over remarks he tweeted
that many considered offensive.
"I will not allow Malaysia to be seen as a safe country for terrorists and those who are wanted by their countries of origin, and also be seen as a transit county," Hishammuddin said.
He said the deportation followed a request from the Saudi government. Allegations that Kashgari could be tortured and killed if he was sent back home are "ridiculous" because Saudi Arabia is a respectable country, he said.