Deputy minister: I complied with all rules for NZ trip

PETALING JAYA: A deputy minister who was criticised for taking a holiday in New Zealand says he got approval and complied with all requirements before travelling.

Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara Kumar (pic) said he had applied for a 55-day leave through the Federal Territories (FT) Minister to obtain the Prime Minister’s approval via a letter dated Dec 3,2020.

“I also complied with the Immigration Department’s procedure to apply for permission to leave the country by applying for MyTravelPass online. My application was submitted on Oct 30 and approved on Nov 2.

“After complying with all the procedures and obtaining the necessary approvals, I left on Dec 23 after attending a meeting and underwent quarantine in New Zealand from Dec 24,2020, to Jan 9,2021, ” he said in a statement yesterday.Edmund said his purpose for leaving the country was to visit his family in New Zealand, whom he had not seen for almost a year.

“I was unable to witness my nine-year-old child’s holy communion ceremony as I had been busy with my duties as Deputy FT Minister and Segamat MP.

“My wife has health issues and I have another child who is pursuing a law degree, ” he added.

Edmund said he remained committed to his duties in ensuring the welfare of people in FT and Segamat.

“I have attended all Dewan Rakyat proceedings.

“I have never applied for sick leave or taken a holiday since I was appointed Deputy Minister on March 10,2020. This is to ensure that I can always provide the best service to the people in dealing with all issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he said.

Edmund, who issued the statement in response to allegations about his trip to New Zealand, said he left the country before the second MCO was announced in Malaysia.

“I have not left and entered Malaysia as alleged by certain quarters, whether to attend the FT Day celebrations or during my holiday.

“As such, there is no issue of the Perikatan Nasional government being unfair to the people, ” he added.

He said a police report would be lodged against those who made the accusations.

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