16 Feb 2013

Australian MP detained in Malaysia

9:43 pm on 16 February 2013

An independent Australian MP has been detained by Malaysian authorities.

Nick Xenophon told the ABC he was taken into custody on his arrival at Kuala Lumpur airport and told he was considered a security risk.

Mr Xenophon had been about to join a delegation which had meetings planned with Malaysian opposition members and officials from the electoral commission ahead of this year's national election.

The South Australian senator, who is outspoken on human rights issues in Malaysia, is under escort and expects to be deported overnight on Saturday.

He told the ABC the delegation was trying to ascertain how free and fair the elections are likely to be.

"But at this stage I've been told that I'm not allowed entry and I have to be on the next flight back home."

Senator Xenophon said the Australian government had been "incredibly silent about some of the abuses that have been occurring here in terms of the way the democratic system runs or doesn't run".

Last year he observed the trial of former Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, who was acquitted of sodomy charges in January.

Senator Xenophon was also a part of an observer group that published a report on the Malaysian electoral system last April.