Both Abdullah and Anwar have both refuted Annuar’s story.
However, what is important and of concern to Malaysians is not who is getting the upper hand in the Abdullah-Annuar “war of words”, but their dismay and consternation that no one had been brought to justice for the RM40 million Hardcore Poor Development Programme funds misappropriation scandal and the new disclosures of Ministerial and ex-Ministerial abuses of power and malpractices - raising the question whether we are back in the era of “heinous crimes without criminals”!
I fully agree with Anwar when he said from prison that it is “utterly deplorable that scarce public resources allocated to the hardcore poor rakyat have been surreptitiously whittled away under the watch of the then minister, which if is true, will amount to a breach of trust”.
The question which must be answered in Parliament urgently is why there has been such a long delay in completing investigations into the RM40 million Hardcore Poor Development Programme funds misappropriation scandal when the offences were committed as far back in 1998 and 1999.
The police has said that around RM40 million of the Hardcore Poor Development Programme funds had been “utilised” by a certain candidate to finance his campaign during the 1999 general elections.
Annuar has said that not more than 30 per cent of this sum could have been misappropriated - which is still a colossal sum and a gross and unconscionable breach of public trust making it probably the first case in the country of the robbery not only of the poor but of the hard-core poor! How immoral can government leaders become?
It is no use the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad expressing regret at the misappropriation of the development funds for the hardcore poor or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asking the police to make public the outcome of its investigations - when no solid information has been forthcoming on the police probe so far.
It is a sad commentary on political accountability and morality that there is no outrage, whether by Cabinet Ministers or MPs in Parliament, at the “daylight robbery” of the hard-core poor!
In the latest development, Annuar seems to suing for peace by wanting to “smoke the peace-pipe” with Abdullah, telling Mingguan Malaysia last week that he did not intend to prolong the “battle” with Abdullah and would prefer to meet him for private discussion.
Annuar should realise that the issues and in particular scandals which had been exposed in his exchange with Abdullah, in particular several most damaging disclosures by Abdullah, cannot be swept under the carpet but must be properly explained and accounted for - as they do not concern just the two of them, but public interests of accountability, transparency and integrity by public, especially government, leaders.
DAP is going through the exchanges between Abdullah and Annuar and would be demanding full accountability for the abuses of power and malpractices highlighted by both of them.
But the police and the Anti-Corruption Agency need not wait for the DAP to complete our study and should open investigations into the abuses of power and malpractices disclosed in the Abdullah-Annuar “war of words” over the RM40 million Hardcore Poor Development Programme funds misappropriation scandal or they should explain why they have not done so yet.