Australian senator Nick Xenophon has been detained at the KL International Airport and is awaiting deportation for allegedly being an “enemy of the state”.
Xenophon, who arrived at KLIA early this morning, has been held at the Immigration holding pen over the past few hours.
“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 make a call to the Australian newspaper when he was left unattended in the interrogation room.
Xenophon is scheduled to meet with parliamentarians, the Election Commission and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz on electoral issues.
Three other Australian politicians are to join him as part of the fact-finding delegation – Liberal MP Mal Washer, Nationals senator John Williams, and Labor MP Steve Georganas. However, they have yet to leave for Malaysia. It is unclear whether they will reconsider their travel plans given the latest development.
Xenophon attended the Bersih 3.0 rally last year as an international observer and was teargassed by the riot police, who were clamping down on demonstrators demanding electoral reforms.
‘Orders from above’
He 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.”