Pakistani immigrant Sami Shah, a stand-up comedian who made the statement in Perth’s Sunday Times last week, said there was little to do or see in Northam and it ‘could do with a bookstore or cinema’.
The comments rankled many locals, with one saying if he doesn’t like it, ‘he should just go home’.
Mr Pollard said Shah’s comments were ‘incorrect’ and he did not believe Northam was as bad as Shah had described.
‘I guess that’s his perception of Northam and he’s entitled to his own opinion,’ he said. ‘We have no intention of forming a posse and running him out of town for that.’
He said Northam was a friendly country town.
Shah, his psychologist wife Ishma and three-year-old daughter Anya, moved from Pakistan to Northam eight months ago on a work visa. As a visa requirement, the family must live and work in regional WA for two years.
The 34-year-old told the Sunday Times Northam residents appeared to fear people from other countries perceived to be foreign or strange.
He said locals even mistook him for an escapee from the Yongah Hill Detention Centre while he was shopping in Woolworths during his first week in the town.
‘People kind of freaked out and said, ‘Oh my god, one of them got out’. Yongah Hill got a few calls saying there’s an escapee,’ he said.
He said initial protests and town meetings about the detention centre had since died down.
‘I think Australia might benefit from it if it gets over its xenophobia,’ he said.
‘I might actually be tarred and feathered [for this] and chased out of town.’
Shah later admitted most of what he said was exaggerated and for comedic effect. He said his real goal in the article was to get people to come and laugh at his performance at the Perth Comedy Festival on May 14.
What the people say: page 4