by Theleaders-Online | March 26, 2020 9:16 am
I certainly agree with the MIC that under the present circumstances politics should be eschewed.
Our focus, immaterial as to who is in power, one of our top priorities is to bring back Malaysians who are stranded in a number of countries.
Despite the financial difficulties faced by the Malaysian government, Malaysian have been brought back from a number of countries such as Iran, Italy, Bangladesh and others.
These stranded Malaysians have been brought back by either the government sponsoring the flights or the airlines meeting their obligations.
However, when it comes to Malaysians stranded in India, particularly in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andra Pradesh or Karnataka, there is a different story on repatriation of Malaysians.
I hear from reliable sources more than 1,500 Malaysians have registered with the Malaysian Consulate in Chennai for repatriation.
In fact, the numbers are increasing day by day.
A few flight have been arranged to bring back to Malaysia, after having secured permission with the authorities in India.
I was told that if the Malaysian High Commission had taken a proactive role, the agony of repatriation could have been avoided.
But alas, our mission officials have been anything but effective or pro-active.
They failed to seek and obtain mutual consent from the authorities both in Malaysia and India for the early repatriation of stranded Malaysians.
Knowing very well that the Malaysian Consulate in Chennai was overwhelmed by Malaysians requesting for early repatriation, the High Commission in New Delhi hardly took any steps to relieve the burden.
Of course, the most contentious issue in the repatriation matter as to why the MIC had to raise funds to bring back stranded Malaysians.
Satees Muniandy stated that the funds were raised by the MIC was essentially to repatriate party members and friends who were stranded in India.
MIC’s CEC member P. Kamalanathan, however, refuted the matter, but never broached the question as to why the party had to raise RM1.05 million to pay for the airlines concerned.
It is really nothing wrong in raising funds to hasten the repatriation, if no other initiatives were forthcoming.
Maybe the numbers involved in the repatriation exercise was much more in India compared to the other countries.
It just that during the present extraordinary times, the truth must told.
The problem with the MIC was not so much it sought funds for the repatriation but rather its failure to explain why the funds were needed.
Even though all the flight were cancelled between Malaysia and India, if I am not mistaken many of the stranded Malaysians had their return tickets.
Under the present circumstances of Covid-19 pandemic, despite flight restrictions, the airlines who ferried the Malaysians earlier to their destinations in India had moral obligation to meet.
Simply put: airlines cannot abandon their passengers during trying and difficult times.
Whether funds were raised or not for a just cause is not important, but the public must be told the truth as why the funds were needed, did the concerned airlines met their moral and legal obligations and very importantly why the Malaysian government and its mission in New Delhi were dragging their feet on this matter.
P Ramasamy is the deputy chief minister II of Penang
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online
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