It was on a Wednesday afternoon last February, when Senator Ted Cruz of Texas boarded a plane with his family and some friends to escape the state’s power crisis.
After a violent winter storm, there was no electricity or water, people were freezing and millions were affected.
Photos of Cruz and his wife, Heidi, boarding the plane went viral across social media. He thought that he could escape the disaster in Texas by having a short break in a luxury resort in Cancún in Mexico. Actually, he was flying into another stormy disaster, but one of his own making.
Stung by the criticisms of his political allies, rivals and ordinary Americans, that he was neglecting the crisis at home, Cruz claimed that he only wanted “to be a good dad” to his daughter and their friends.
The public rejected his claims.
By Thursday afternoon, Cruz was back on a plane heading back to Houston.
One day was all it took for him, to return.
Different response from absentee Malaysian minister
In the past few days, the exposé about Edmund Santhara Kumar Ramanaidu, provoked fury amongst Malaysians and more importantly, has embarassed the New Zealand government of Jacinda Ardern.
Santhara claimed that he was in New Zealand for family reasons. Like Cruz, he said he wanted “to be a good father” to his 9-year-old whom he had not seen for one year, and take care of his sick wife.
New Zealanders with family members who are dying or are seriously ill, married couples who were separated when the country went into lockdown and children who have not seen their parents for over a year, are some of those on the long list of people wishing to return to New Zealand. How did Santhara bypass the queue? How did he enter New Zealand with its strict coronavirus isolation rules?
Malaysians living in different states or in East Malaysia, have not seen dying or ill family members. Couples are separated. Children have not seen their parents. Why should the public be sympathetic about Santhara? What’s so special about Santhara?
Where is he now? Is he back in Malaysia? Or is he still in New Zealand?
For all we care, Santhara can remain there and send his letter of resignation to Muhyiddin Yassin by email. Malaysians have no need for an absentee minister and MP.
As for the convicted felon, Najib Abdul Razak, he too went awol in December 2014 when Kelantan and the east coast, faced the most severe flooding for decades.
It had taken public humiliation, on social media, to drag him away from Hawaii, and his golfing buddy, the then President of the United States, Barack Obama, who had to drop hints for him to return and take care of his suffering rakyat.
Najib finally returned, after many hints, but he did not use the government jet because the former FLOM allegedly wanted to continue her shopping spree.
If memory serves me right, they met in Bangkok, many days later, then travelled back home on the gomen jet.
That is what the felon Najib and Santhara have in common.
They ignore their own rakyat and were caught overseas, when the nation needed them most.
Just in case Santhara has forgotten, his constituents both in Segamat and in FT are suffering from the issues caused by the depressed economy and the Coronavirus pandemic.
Santhara has threatened to sue for slander Batu MP P Prabakaran, who claimed that he was avoiding his responsibilities as MP.
Most of us agree with Prabakaran.
Santhara cannot have one foot planted in Malaysia and the other in New Zealand. He should make a choice.
Actually, we’ll decide for him.
Santhara should resign.