Why Fear Independent Election Observers?
Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, said Malaysian media reports that Australia was seeking to interfere in Malaysia’s elections are a “complete misrepresentation, fabrication and distortion of the true position.”
Senator Xenophon was handed a personal letter from Malaysian Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, in Kuala Lumpur last week to hand to Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
The letter sought assistance from Australia for Malaysia’s forthcoming general elections to reflect the “true will of the Malaysian people”, Senator Xenophon said.
“There was absolutely nothing in that request that could be construed as interference by one nation in another nation’s affairs,” Senator Xenophon said.
“The reality is that an independent International Observer Group from six nations reported in April this year on the Malaysian electoral system, raising a number of serious concerns on the state of Malaysian democracy.”
Senator Xenophon was a member of that Observer Group which included representatives from India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Germany.
“Foreign Minister Carr was quite right to say Australia would not interfere in Malaysia elections. However, how can asking for independent observers be seen as interference in any way?”
“All Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was asking for was for free, fair and clean elections in Malaysia and for Australia – as a neighbour and great friend of Malaysia – to play a role if requested.”
Senator Xenophon said he would personally welcome Malaysian interest in Australia’s forthcoming Federal election.
“Because Malaysia and Australia are such great friends, I’m sure Australian MPs and the Australian Electoral Commission would welcome scrutiny from Malaysian MPs over our electoral system in the lead up to our general elections next year,” Senator Xenophon said.
“Why is the Malaysian Government so nervous about the Opposition Leader’s reasonable request for independent observers from the region?”-AIB