Santhara has more than just kin in NZ, even applied for PR, govt docs show

Segamat MP held 20% stake in company based there before his wife took total control of firm

KUALA LUMPUR – While the flurry of criticism at Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara Kumar over his 55-day leave to visit New Zealand has barely abated, documents reveal that the deputy Federal Territories minister applied for permanent residency in the Pacific country about a decade ago.

Checks by The Vibes also found that the Segamat MP was a director of a New Zealand-based company called V3S Trustees, holding a 20% share for a mere five days before the stake was transferred to his wife, Carline D’Cruz.

According to a document in the New Zealand government’s Land Information New Zealand portal, Santhara and his wife had initially planned to purchase a house and sought to emigrate there some time before 2011, with the purposes of educating and bringing up their family.

The filing stated that they applied to the New Zealand Immigration Department for permanent residency before “a change in circumstances” led them to reverse their intentions.

It also noted that Edmund intended to purchase property in “sensitive land” at Lakes Hayes, Queenstown, as a lifestyle block for NZ$3.8 million (RM11.1 million today).

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara Kumar and his wife initially planned to buy a house in New Zealand and emigrate there some time before 2011, government documents show. – Bernama pic

However, their application to buy the house was rejected on March 22, 2011, as it did not comply with Section 12 (a) of the Overseas Investment Act 2005, possibly due to the fact that they no longer intended to move.

Section 12 (a) concerns acquisition of “sensitive land” by any overseas persons or associates of such persons. 

It is not known if the Segamat lawmaker had made a fresh application for permanent residency status, although a recent article by whistle-blowing site Sarawak Report claims his family members have been granted such status.

For the record, Santhara’s daughter, Valentyn, became the only democratically elected youth MP in 2019 when she won the Epsom seat.

Meanwhile, a separate check on New Zealand’s Companies Register found that V3S Trustee Ltd was incorporated on September 27, 2019, with Santhara and his wife at the helm as directors. They held a 20% and 80% stake, respectively.

Santhara subsequently disposed of his shares and position in the company to D’Cruz on October 2, 2019, giving her full ownership of the firm.

The company filings also records that the couple currently reside at Cedar Road in Mount Eden, Auckland.

The house is valued at NZ$4 million.

Last week, it was reported the deputy minister had gone “missing”, before he issued a statement to explain that he had taken 55 days’ leave to visit his family in New Zealand. 

His leave, which started on December 18, was approved by both Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. 

Santhara said he had gone to visit his children, who are studying in New Zealand, as well as his wife, who suffers from health problems.

Information on the New Zealand government’s Land Information New Zealand portal and Companies Register showing Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara Kumar’s dealings with government departments there. – Screen grab, March 2, 2021

By : Arjun Mohanakrishnan – THE VIBES

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