Dr Annuar Clarifies That Sarawak Report Was Correct

Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee has invited elected representatives from the opposition to Sibu Resident Office today at 10am to clear the confusion surrounding funds for the Covid-19 effort under the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Dr Annuar, who is also Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research, said Sibu Resident Charles Siaw has consented for the bank statement of account to be shown to them as evidence that all funds for the Covid-19 effort in Sibu under the MCO did not go through him (Dr Annuar).

He also clarified that all purchases for the provisions were made by the Resident Office….

“I am inviting a volunteer among anyone of you to check where is the RM1 million channelled to. Yes, initially state government wanted to channel to the YBs (elected representatives) but later, decided against it. Instead, the funds go to the Division Disaster Management Committee headed by respective Resident.

“In fact, I have spoken to Padungan assemblyman (Wong King Wei) and he confirmed that initially, the fund of RM200,000 was supposed to be channelled to respective YB’s account, including those from the opposition camp but later the state government came up with a new mechanism. So, the confusion is that all the funds for the five state constituencies in Sibu totalling RM1 million are placed under me. This is totally untrue and what is why I am inviting them to come voluntarily to see for themselves all the relevant document such as the bank statement, purchase orders and so on, to clear the air,” Dr Annuar said.

He explained that his role as coordinator for the committee was to ensure that all work on the ground went smoothly.

“I hope after seeing the documentation for themselves, will clear this confusion once and for all and that this fund is not placed under me,” he said.

He added that the confusion stemmed from an article in Sarawak Report (SR) entitled “MONSTROUS! -How Sarawak’s GPS Have Played Politics With Hunger” which was published on April 5 and other postings by bloggers.

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[From Free Malaysia Today, reporting same press briefing:
“Initially, it was proposed internally that the allocations for the five constituencies be channelled to my service centre.
This proposal, he said, was mentioned in a memo which has since been leaked, but Annuar says the proposal never materialised as the memo was retracted after Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg disagreed with it.

What purchases are made, which vendors are chosen … even I don’t know. I am only managing the distribution of the aid for my area.

So, Annuar said, any claim that he was “controlling” the funds was a “big lie”.]

Our comment

Sibu-based Adun, Dr Annuar Rapaee, has now offered to ‘clarify the confusion’ of opposition Aduns over the matter of how disaster funds in their area are being managed.

He blamed an article on April 5th by SR as being responsible for the confusion, however he then proceeded to acknowledge every major point of the article and of a later report by SR.

He acknowledged it had indeed been planned to put disaster money into Aduns’ own accounts; he also acknowledged at the same press conference, according to Free Malaysia Today, that “Initially, it was proposed internally that the allocations for the five [Sibu] constituencies be channelled to my service centre”. This had been laid out in a memo that he says was later over-ruled by the chief minister.

Dr Annuar also acknowledged that opposition Aduns were confused and needed proper information, which he offered to give and he acknowledged that he does indeed have a superior role as ‘coordinator’ of the management of the local fund, unlike opposition Aduns who have struggled for weeks to understand what is going on with the RM200,000 allocated to their areas.

This statement by Dr Annuar was made after Sarawak Report had reported updated information from the original April 5th article providing details of the new scheme whereby money would be held by local disaster committees, but would be accessible to chosen Aduns. Therefore, our rolling account based on what information could be accessed over the week of confusion and poor deliveries was accurate, despite Dr Annuar’s attempt to blame SR for creating ‘confusion’.

Although Dr Annuar claims he has no access to the money allocated to the other Aduns and says he has not taken a role in distributing provisions in their area (only his own), he has now also acknowledged his role as regional “coordinator”.  He has offered to meet and provide explanations to his fellow Aduns as to what is going on with the money for their areas where they have been given no distribution role, unlike him.

He should not therefore be blaming Sarawak Report for the confusion but himself and his political colleagues for secretively issuing changing plans, failing to explain the situation to opposition Aduns, even though he had apparently a ‘coordinator’ role, and failing to explain to anybody even now who is managing the largely non-existent distribution of supplies to opposition areas in Sarawak?

Because, if Dr Annuar is not responsible for managing distribution in the four opposition constituencies where he now acknowledges he is the coordinator and is only managing distribution in his own, then who is?  If opposition Aduns have been left confused and without information, then there is little surprise that food has not been arriving at their longhouses.

Dr Annuar is also yet to deny certain other significant points reported by SR. Does he deny the memos circulated by the Welfare Department of April 2nd and April 3rd which say that Aduns may purchase and organise the distribution of provisions and apply to be refunded by the disaster committee? Does he deny he was the only Adun out of five in his area named in the memo of April 3rd as qualifying for that role?  Does he deny that the names of all opposition Aduns were left off the list and all GPS Aduns were on the list?

Sarawak Report is proud to have done its job in forcing this GPS ‘coordinator’ to step up and agree to impart vital information at this late stage and to admit how plans were changed without properly being communicated; how attempts to politicise the matter and put all the RM1 million in his personal account were indeed afoot and how he was secretively put in charge of his area for reasons undisclosed but clearly connected to the fact he is the only Adun friendly to the government.

As the ‘coordinator’ for five constituencies Dr Annuar ought to hold daily press briefings on this matter until the situation is put right and until proper supplies are reaching the households of ALL Sibu residents for whom he was made responsible, but so far has failed to deliver to.

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