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Published: Tuesday February 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:02:06 PM

Xenophon’s ‘foolish’ episode slammed

KUALA LUMPUR: A prominent editor of a leading Australian daily has hit out at independent senator Nick Xenophon (pic) for his “foolish or cynically self-promoting” episode in Malaysia.

Greg Sheridan, The Australian foreign editor, described Xenophon's call for the Australian Government to monitor the upcoming Malaysian elections as “stupid and impractical”.

Sheridan also accused Xenophon of “campaigning for just one side of Malaysian politics, the Opposition.

“He might reflect on the fact the side he supports contains as perhaps its strongest element the most extreme Islamist party in mainstream South-East Asian politics,” he wrote in an article titled Nick Xenophon's grandstanding does us no good yesterday.

It was reported that 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.

Xenophon, who attended the Bersih 3.0 rally, is known in Malaysia for his long-standing and active campaign against the palm oil industry.

He also came to Malaysia last April as part of the team of bipartisan parliamentary delegation to Malaysia to assess the country's election system on an invite by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The “pre-election assessment team” had been tasked to interview local government and political leaders, before compiling its recommendations on how to ensure a clean polls process and distributing it to the stakeholders.

Sheridan said Australian 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.

Citing electoral problems in Vietnam and Cambodia, Sheridan said Malaysia “on any measure is one of the most democratic and freewheeling nations in South-East 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.”

Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor claimed that Xenophon had shown himself to be biased towards the Government following his involvement with certain Opposition leaders.

“I had an experience with him in the past and I can tell you he is not independent. However, I cannot tell you whether the decision (to deport him) was wise or not,” said Tengku Adnan at a press conference after launching the Umno Veteran's Club sticker “My Family-BN Voters” at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.

Tengku Adnan said the accusation levelled against the Election Commission was uncalled for and urged Xenophon not to meddle with Malaysia's internal matters.

Related Stories: Guan Eng: Deportation disgraceful and unacceptable Xenophon not on list of Aussie delegation

Tags / Keywords: Nation, News, Government, xenophon, tengku adnan

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