17 Feb 2013

Australian senator deported from Malaysia

5:07 pm on 17 February 2013

An Australian federal senator deported from Kuala Lumpur for being a security risk says the only threat he poses is his advocacy for clean elections in Malaysia.

Nick Xenophon had been taken into custody and detained for nine hours at Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday.

Mr Xenophon, who has been outspoken on human rights issues in Malaysia, travelled there to discuss upcoming elections with government and opposition officials.

"I was told that I was being deported under a certain section of the immigration act which basically relates to being a security risk," Mr Xenophon said.

"But it seems the only risk I am is to embarrassing the Malaysian government because of my advocacy for clean elections in Malaysia."

The senator said he did not know how long he would be classified as a security threat.

"I think I'm persona non grata for the indefinite future, so I'm not planning to buy any tickets to Malaysia any time soon," he said. "I just really didn't expect this."

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she is surprised and disappointed at Malaysia's treatment of Mr Xenophon.