Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar Deputy Minister New Zealand holidays P. Prabakaran
Dr. Santhara Kumar

By Kasthuri Jeevendran

KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar rubbished the claims of the Member of Parliament (MP) of Batu, P. Prabakaran that he abused his position as the Deputy Minister to travel back and forth New Zealand throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Speaking to MalaysiaGazette, the Deputy Minister of Federal Territories said that his stay in New Zealand was made according to all determined procedures, including the application of annual and unpaid leave for 55 days.

He also said that he has written an application letter to Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Minister of Federal Territories, Tan Sri Annuar Musa to resolve several matters in that country.

“I would like to rectify several facts and at the same time, would like to thank Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for politely questioning about the allegations towards me compared to the opposition representative like Batu, Prabakaran.

“I could not return to Malaysia as alleged, moreover, the power abuse and MCO violation did not happen at all. For this, the first thing I’d do upon returning to the country is to lodge a police report over the slander.

“For your information, I have obeyed all rules determined by the authorities and I would like to emphasize that I am not the ‘kayangan’ (elite) group. On the contrary, I followed the procedures since I started by journey to New Zealand on 23 December,” he said.

According to Santhara, since he became the Deputy Minister, he did not have the chance to meet his family since the beginning of 2020.

“I have applied for 55 days of leave, including unpaid leave after deducting all my annual leave for this journey since the end of December last year.

“Allegations as if I am still paid while I having a holiday with family is not correct at all. Moreover, my application is approved by my Minister, Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“My presence in New Zealand was also due to other reasons, including some legal issues which required me to meet my lawyer, as a plaintiff, I was there to file bankruptcy on a defendant, as the decision favours me in that country.

“Besides that, Covid-19 has caused many affairs to be hampered as international travel is not a norm, we need to follow all guidelines and I am very serious and concerned as I am a people’s representative,” he said.

Santhara also shared about the need for him to be around his family at the moment.

“Besides visiting my family, I also used my annual leave and unpaid leave to register my daughter into a law school.

“I need to be there during the registration. Other Malaysian students are given scholarship and sponsorship but my daughter does not receive any assistance and it is my responsibility as a father to his daughter, to help whatever I can.

“I also have a nine-year-old son who requires my attention. I have been working actively all these time, I fully utilise my leave especially when it is approved by my superiors and followed all required procedures,” he said.

According to Santhara, upon arriving in New Zealand from Singapore on 24 December, he was quarantined and he could not spend Christmas nor New Year with his family.

“I was only released from quarantine on 9 January 2021 as required by the New Zealand government. In addition, I could not be with my family for Christmas nor New Year 2021 as I was still on quarantine.

“I would also like to reveal to all of you that my application for my children and I to undergo home quarantine from New Zealand to Malaysia was rejected by the MOH. It was not approved by the Director-General of MOH although my children have made a plea.

“Besides that, MAS also cancelled all flights to New Zealand until today. I was supposed to visit them after the Parliament sitting in early December 2020. However, the Parliament sitting was extended until the end of December 2020. I have attended 100 percent of the Dewan Rakyat sitting.

“I have also carried out my duty and was present at the Senate to answer questions.

“I decided to fly there using my annual leave and unpaid leave after I settled everything at the Parliament. To me, the responsibility is important and I followed through it all,” he said.

Santhara also said that he has never neglected his responsibility as the people’s representatives and his voters. He also carried out his duties as the Deputy Minister which requires high commitment at the Federal Territories.

“I planned everything. I also have all officers who work under me and I also paid for additional staff out of my own pocket to help me and they carry out their duties very well.

“They are on the field all the time and executed all planned activities such as handing out aid for Covid-19, schooling aid and Chinese New Year aid. Assistance for flood victims when I was on quarantine was also executed.

“You can see it for yourself. Although we are facing the MCO, my officers are carrying out their duty as instructed by me. They also keep in touch with me 24 hours despite the difference in time zone.

“All providence and needs were carried out dutifully and I recorded them all. I did not ‘disappear’ as alleged by them. The MPs who did not do so and did not help the people are the ones who disappeared.

“It is weird as I am active and I know my responsibility. At the same time, I also play a role for my family, especially my children. How can I be a community leader if I do not carry out my duty to my children and family?

“Do not make accusations. To them, I warn them to apologise for making false accusations. I will discuss with my lawyer to take appropriate actions, including lodging police report and also to the MCMC.

“To the Honourables from the opposition, you should focus on the welfare of your voters. You do not do that and you try to point your fingers at me. I have all evidences, application and approvals.

“I also got the approval from the Immigration Department on 23 December for this journey. Once again, I would like to emphasize that I did not go against the law or run from my responsibility as the people’s representative.

“I do not need to answer in length if it is not due to the slanders and baseless accusations. We have gone through and are still going through the uncertainties of the current pandemic. Why are there politicians who still purportedly want to make the situation worse?

“Due to your actions, I had to waste my time, which can be utilised for the people by speaking to my lawyer, making police report and others. All these are unnecessary but it is important for me to rectify what is wrong against me,” he said.

At the same time, Santhara also provided all documentations, including travel documentation, his annual and unpaid leave application to Annuar Musa and Muhyiddin Yassin including the conditional approval note of his leave. – MalaysiaGazette