Saturday, February 16, 2013

Australian senator detained at KLIA, awaiting deportation

9:28AM Feb 16, 2013

Australian senator Nick Xenophon has been detained at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), awaiting deportation for allegedly being an 'enemy of the state'.

Xenophon, who arrived at the LCCT AirAsia terminal at Sepang 6.40 this morning, has since been held at the Immigration holding pen.

nick xenophon 290412"I am effectively a prisoner here," Xenophon told Australia’s Sunday Mail. "I'm being held in an area with all these holding cells which are full of women.
"They have basically told me I am an enemy of the state. They are trying to get me on the next plane out of here and back home."

According to the senator, while he was not allowed to make any telephone calls, he managed to call the Australian newspaper when he was left unattended in the interrogation room.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's chief of staff Ibrahim Yaacob, who rushed to the LCCT to deal with the matter, told Malaysiakinithat immigration officials found Xenophon's name has been blacklisted in the immigration department's system.

"The officials did not give any other reasons, but Xenophon told us he was informed that he is the enemy of the state," Ibrahim said when contacted.
He added the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia has arrived at the airport and is trying to contact Malaysian foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, lawyer Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin, who managed to meet with Xenophon, told Malaysiakini that the senator was detained under Section 8(3) of the Immigration Act as a "prohibited person'.

“He is okay, being treated well. They provided him lunch,” he said.
Xenophon is scheduled to be deported back to Melbourne tonight on an AirAsia flight at 10.30, Radzlan said.

To be batted back home

According to AFP, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australian officials have been in touch with Xenophon, as well as Malaysia's foreign and home ministers, and are seeking his "swift release" from custody.

"Senator Xenophon's detention is a surprising and disappointing act from a country with which Australia routinely maintains strong diplomatic relations," he said in a statement.

The independent senator was part of a four-member Australian delegation which took upon themselves the task of examining the Malaysian electoral system when the Australian government rejected Anwar's request for independent observers for the coming general.

The three other Australian politicians are Liberal MP Mal Washer, Nationals senator John Williams and Labor MP Steve Georganas.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with Anwar on Monday, the Election Commission and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz on Tuesday, as well as other NGOs and opposition MPs.

However, the trio has yet to leave for Malaysia.
According to Ibrahim, they have decided to cancel their visit after what happened to Xenophon.

"This will give horrible name to Malaysia internationally," he decried.

'Orders from above'

In April last year, Xenophon was part of a seven-member international team commissioned by Anwar to conduct a fact-finding mission on Malaysia's electoral system.

He also attended the Bersih 3.0 rally as an international observer and was tear gassed by the riot police clamping down on demonstrators demanding electoral reforms.
toh ching hong tigongkia at bersih rally 3.0
Xenophon's presence in Malaysia also prompted both Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times to publish reports painting him as anti-Islam.
Both dailies then openly apologised after he threatened to take legal action as transcripts confirmed the senator, in his speech, had not referred to Islam, but Scientology.

Xenophon also told Australia's ABC News 24 he had not expected to be detained on arrival in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the immigration officials have been "incredibly polite" but they have told him they received "orders from above" to detain him.
"I just find it extraordinary. I've been here before [and] I've made statements about the state of Malaysian democracy previously," he said.

"But on this occasion clearly someone high up in the Malaysian government doesn't want me here."

Xenophon tarnishes Malaysia's image

Immigration director general Alias Ahmad said in a text message toAFP that Xenophon had "tarnished the image of the country" and been classified as a "prohibited immigrant".

He later elaborated in a statement that Xenophon was blacklisted because he attended an "illegal street protest" in Kuala Lumpur last year.

"Malaysia is a free and democratic country, but no one is above the law. Authorities will take the appropriate action against any individual deemed to have violated national laws," Alias said.

Xenophon said he attended the electoral reform mass rally last April as an observer while studying Malaysia's poll system.

"It seems that the government is fearful of scrutiny," he said via telephone from the airport. "This in my mind confirms that they (elections) won't be" fair.
~ Malaysiakini

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