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Monday February 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:02:05 PM
MELBOURNE: One of Australia's senior commentators has taken maverick independent senator Nick Xenophon to task for his "foolish or cynically self-promoting" episode in Malaysia on Saturday.
The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan said Xenophon's call for the Australian government to monitor the forthcoming Malaysian elections was "stupid and impractical".
Sheridan also accused Xenophon of "campaigning for just one side of Malaysian politics, the Opposition".
He said Foreign Minister Bob Carr was right to make his response to Xenophon's deportation as low key as possible and to agree with his Malaysian counterpart that the issue would not affect relations between the two countries.
"Carr should take no further action on the matter, nor is he likely to," he said.
"Xenophon wants the Australian government to send electoral monitors to the forthcoming Malaysian elections. This idea is stupid and impractical," Sheridan said.
Citing electoral problems in Vietnam and Cambodia, Sheridan said Malaysia "on any measure is one of the most democratic and freewheeling nations in Southeast Asia.
"Its elections are certainly not perfect, but they are better than in most parts of the world.
"Indeed, its very openness allows people such as Xenophon to grandstand there."
Xenophon was detained soon after he arrived at the LCCT terminal in Sepang at 6.40am on Saturday.
Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad said Xenophon was denied entry as he had been listed as a prohibited immigrant.
He was deported the same night.
Xenophon, who attended the Bersih 3.0 rally, is known for his long-standing and active campaign against the palm oil industry.
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