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Monday, 19 November 2012
Page: 9053

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (18:22): I do not want to hold up Senator Milne in relation to this but, finally, I was in Malaysia over the weekend. I met last Friday, at length, with the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. There are real and serious concerns in that nation—in terms of those who could be facing elections at any time between now and towards the middle of next year—about irregularities in the electoral rolls and widespread electoral fraud, and that the elections could well be stolen. I am concerned about how the Australian government feels about how robust any system put in place with Malaysia would be where independent groups such as Bersih, the movement for clean and fair elections in Malaysia, have raised very serious concerns. These bilateral arrangements will only be as good as the willingness of both parties to enforce them and, given what Anwar Ibrahim himself told me just three days ago of his grave fears about the true will of the Malaysian people being reflected at the next election, it makes me worry about collateral issues such as illegal logging and the fulsome cooperation of the Malaysian government in respect of that.