Report: Deputy minister Edmund Santhara returns home after NZ jaunt, serving Covid-19 quarantine

Yiswaree Palansamy
·2-min read
Deputy Minister of Federal Territories Edmund Santhara (left) is currently serving his Covid-19 quarantine order after returning from his holiday in New Zealand. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Deputy Minister of Federal Territories Edmund Santhara (left) is currently serving his Covid-19 quarantine order after returning from his holiday in New Zealand. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 ― Deputy Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara Kumar has now returned to Malaysia from his holiday in New Zealand and is currently serving his Covid-19 quarantine order, Free Malaysia Today reported.

The report quoted the Segamat MP's aide, Muhammad Effi Arpan confirming the matter saying that Edmund returned last week and is working from his residence.

“He will only attend physical meetings after he has completed quarantine,” he reportedly said.

Edmund's departure to New Zealand caused an outrage here, both among the public and politicians who accused and ridiculed the government of practising double-standards when enforcing rules while the country was under lockdown due to Covid-19.

A New Zealand Opposition MP also urged his government to explain how Edmund managed to secure a place in the country’s highly-limited managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) system to visit family.

Chris Bishop, who is also the country’s National Party Covid-19 Response spokesman, said government authorities have not been forthcoming regarding Edmund’s immigration status or how he secured a place in the MIQ system.

He added that some New Zealanders were still trying to get back into the country, including circumstances such as returning to see dying loved ones.

After news reports emerged that he was currently abroad, Edmund issued a statement confirming that he has been in New Zealand since last December.

However, he insisted that his 55-days leave was approved by the Prime Minister’s Department and that his exit from the country followed the procedures set out by the Immigration Department.

Edmund said he was in New Zealand to visit his wife and son, justifying the break by saying he has not taken any leave since his appointment in March 2020.

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