A Malaysian official has threatened to take "stern action" against Malaysian students in Australia if they attended Saturday's Adelaide Festival of Ideas, an e-mail sent to students said.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was the speaker at the event.
Despite the e-mail, many students attended the packed event, although some asked to remain anonymous.
Mr Anwar slammed the e-mail, saying it illustrated a "siege mentality" by the Malaysian government, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"They do not want the students to be exposed to other views because we are often labelled as pro-Communist and pro-Christian," Mr Anwar said before leaving for Australia. "They cannot imagine that we have direct access to the students."
The e-mail, dated Oct 14 and purportedly signed by the Public Services Department's Australian adviser Shahrezan Sheriff, warned students that attending the event could make it harder for them to earn good grades and avoid their scholarships "going down the drain".
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