Published: Saturday February 16, 2013 MYT 3:44:00 PM
Updated: Saturday February 16, 2013 MYT 4:31:23 PM
Australian senator on Immigration dept's blacklist
By ZUHRIN AZAM AHMAD
PUTRAJAYA: Australian senator Nick Xenophon was not allowed to enter the country as his name is on the Immigration Department's blacklist.
Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad said Xenophon had been listed as prohibited immigrant and had not been detained as claimed by the senator.
He said prohibited immigrants were those whose presence in Malaysia was a danger to the community.
“Prohibited immigrants are also those who could cause disorder in the country.
“An alert on his name popped up when the Immigration officer was processing his passport and a further check revealed that he is on the list so we issued a “no to land” order against him,” he said.
Alias said he had also spoken to Australian High Commissioner Miles Kupa on the matter.
“I explained to him the procedures and decision," he said adding that the envoy understood the decision.
Alias said Xenophon was allowed to move freely within the airport and was not detained in a cell as claimed by the Australian press.
“We provided him with lunch,” he said.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Xenophon's lawmaker status did not mean he was immune to Malaysia's immigration laws.
“Foreigners being denied entry to the country is a normal thing. It happens every day and everywhere like in Melbourne and Sydney. Every week we hear that Malaysians are not allowed to enter the country and were ordered to leave.
“Being a senator doesn't make him (Xenophon) special.
“I as a minister, if not allowed to enter a country, must leave,” he said.
Senator 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 an election observer after being invited by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Despite being invited by Anwar, he insisted he was independent.