AN Opposition MP claimed that the leeway given to Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara Kumar to travel abroad to visit his family during the COVID-19 crisis shows double standards.
“We all know that since COVID-19 hit our shores, many have made numerous sacrifices. Some people couldn’t even attend their family members funeral, while others can’t visit their ageing parents due to the movement restrictions.
“There are still many Malaysians stuck in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia due to restrictions imposed by the National Security Council (NSC) as they are unable to afford the quarantine cost.
“But they understand the situation and have accepted it but Santhara’s excuse have hurt their feelings, saying the elites enjoy a certain ‘privilege’ or double standards,” said Batu MP P Prabakaran, in a Facebook post.
Last week, Prabakaran questioned the prolonged absence of Santhara, adding the latter had gone to visit his family in New Zealand when the nation was facing a crisis.
Santhara later issued a statement saying Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had approved his application for 55 days leave to visit his family, citing that his wife was unwell and he had not seen his nine-year old son for nearly a year.
He also threatened to file defamation suits against Prabakaran and others who had questioned his absence, claiming it was slanderous and had tarnished his image.
However, Prabakaran was undeterred by the deputy minister’s threat, adding he never slandered him in anyway.
“Let Santhara explain in what way I had defamed him. Is questioning the deputy minister for taking 55 days leave during an Emergency and movement control order (MCO) a slander?
“Santhara’s constituents were unable to meet him after a flood. Is that a slander? Victims of a fire incident in Sentul Pasar are unable to meet him to seek reprieve. Is that also a slander?
The PKR MP then declared that if questioning a deputy minister’s errors were slanderous, then the former is willing to be sued anytime.
“If an elected MP like me cannot voice out on issues affecting justice and double standards, what more can we say of ordinary Malaysians,” Prabakaran asked. – March 2, 2021.