Two MPs have lambasted Umno’s Nazri Aziz over his decision to go overseas to register his son for school, especially at a time when Malaysians are struggling to survive in the midst of the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They say that he should display his true Malaysian spirit by cancelling his non-essential trip and spend time with his poor constituents in the semi-urban and rural parliamentary seat of Padang Rengas in Perak.
PKR’s Fahmi Fadzil called Nazri “insensitive” for making plans to enrol his son in a school overseas, when so many children in Malaysia, especially in the rural areas, are unable to even follow basic online classes.
“The timing of his trip, when the fourth wave of this pandemic is seeing daily record deaths, high number of daily new positive cases with the public health system stretched too thin, is both arrogant and insensitive,” he told FMT.
Nazri said on Friday that he will be flying abroad to help his son enrol in a school overseas, but he will be back in time for Parliament when it reconvenes.
The former minister said he had obtained the necessary visa from the proper channels and was given clearance by the Immigration Department. Though he had not given an exact date for his return, he told FMT that it will be before Parliament sits.
“There is nothing wrong. I know someone from Umno was trying to go overseas but couldn’t because he had a court case to settle. But I have clearance,” he said, declining to go further into details about his son or the school.
Fahmi, who is PKR information chief, said now was not the time for Malaysians to go abroad for non-essential trips, “especially not for an MP such as he.”
“Now is the time to serve. His trip would also signal him indulging in the kind of luxuries when too many Malaysians – many of whom may also be in his constituency – are struggling to put food on the table for their young ones.
“Optics-wise, his trip at this time of national crisis is akin to saying, ‘The people have no bread? Then let them eat cake,” he said referring to the old French saying that refers to showing insensitivity to the realities of life faced by those who are underprivileged.
Fahmi suggested that Nazri postpone his trip and perhaps consider enrolling his son in one of Malaysia’s many good private schools.
“His decision does not speak well for a veteran political leader and former minister to abandon the country and his constituency at a time of a pandemic. He should postpone his trip and be there for his poor voters,” the DAP MP told FMT.
Meanwhile, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member Sharan Raj said Nazri’s action showed a lack of faith in the national education system that was built by his coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) over the last 60 years.
“It’s an open secret that thousands of children of BN leaders had been sent to private schools and foreign universities in the past.
“How will the people trust our public education system if politicians from the ruling party send their kids for schooling overseas?” he said in a statement. – FMT