By S Vell Paari
When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Perth two days ago, the first SMS that I received upon switching on my mobile phone was that Australian senator Nick Xenophon had been detained at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and was awaiting deportation for allegedly being an “enemy of the state”.
The enemy of the state claim, to me, was bewildering.
Setting aside his scheduled meetings with Anwar Ibrahim and certain NGOs, wasn’t he and the delegation representing all the political parties in Australia scheduled to meet with the Election Commission and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz as well?
When a senior federal minister of Malaysia and the Election Commission could see fit to schedule a meeting with Senator Xenophon, where is this security treat?
Let’s be frank, Senator Xenophon is not an independent observer, he is aligned to Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat but have not our leaders like Xenophon been critical of foreign countries and their policies. Were this leaders considered a security threat and deported when they arrived in those countries?
Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his tenure as prime minister made various threats against the US and Australia, was he ever deported during any of his visits there? Even recently he made statements against the US and Hilary Clinton but when he went there to receive an award, he was not deported for being an enemy of the state.
It took three Bersih rallies before we realised that it is best to give an approval in the case of the Himpunan Rakyat, where everything proceeded peacefully and with praise for the police.
Similarly, we should have just allowed Senator Xenophon together with the delegation to carry out their visit, hold their meetings, state their views and return back to Australia, without drama.
By choosing to deport him, we have turned him into a hero. By deporting him, we have given the world an impression that we have something to hide.
Just two weeks ago we had a similar group from Europe who came to look into the government’s control over the mainstream media and their statement was not favorable to the government, which was aired by certain mainstream TV channels and online media.
The real security threat
What about George Soros? He visited Malaysia to launch his book. This man was accused of attempting to destroy the Malaysian economy and to bring Malaysia to its knees to beg IMF’s help. But was he deported as an enemy of state?
It is these sort of double standard approaches that brew disaster for Barisan Nasional.
For example, recently about a 100 rebel fighters from the Philippines landed in Sabah fully armed. And the Home Ministry is still figuring out how to deal with them. Is this not a major security treat? Were they deported?
I think it must have been Xenophon’s V-neck T Shirt which is the cause for the security threat.
The greatest security threat to Malaysia is Ibrahim Ali. All his racial rants are targeted to stir racial tension and violence. But no action has been taken.
Ibrahim fits the tag of being an “enemy of the state.”
We are dealing with a new generation of Malaysians who are well aware of their democratic and constitutional rights and are exercising it. So either we learn to engage Malaysians or be prepared to be disengaged by Malaysians from Putrajaya.
While we preach to the rest of the world about sensitivity, tolerance, freedom and democratic maturity, we must first learn to heed our own advice and show to the world and especially to the true citizen of Malaysia that our country does not only possess first world infrastructure but also first world mentality.
Let us not become our own enemies of the state.
* S. Vell Paari is MIC’s strategy director. This article first appeared in Free Malaysia Today.