KUCHING - Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Linton Besser has described the arrest, release and subsequent sending back of him and his colleague Louie Eroglu as a "circus".
"A circus. First I hadn't registered for the event, then I had been aggressive, then I breached a cordon. Now this," Besser tweeted on Tuesday.
Attached to his tweet was a screengrab of a report quoting Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainuddin saying that tighter security controls around Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was due to possible kidnapping fears.
Hamzah, who made the comment as Besser and cameraman Eroglu were put on a plane here, dismissed the notion that there was no press freedom in the country.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed had also suggested that Besser and Eroglu were investigated for not having a work permit.
Besser and Eroglu were arrested, detained and questioned for obstructing a public officer in carrying out his work under Section 186 of the Penal Code.
The duo were shooting a segment for ABC's Four Corners, an investigative reporting programme.
In an interview with ABC upon arriving at Singapore's Changi International Airport, Besser said; "It's been widely reported we've been deported by the Malaysian authorities and indeed we were whisked through airport and immigration and customs by uniformed police.
"And even all the way to our seats on the plane... at no point were we told we were being deported. Our passports don't say we've been deported. We were never given a piece of paper to say that this was the case," he said.
Besser said they would remain in Singapore for a few more days to continue their investigations.