Dr Mahathir Mohamad today challenged Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to declare his wealth, upping the ante in a saga that has so far seen the former leader suing his one-time mentee for RM150 million over remarks on the issue.
Mahathir said Anwar should declare his wealth as it stood during his time as deputy prime minister under his leadership in the 1990s, responding to a jibe made at a government open house that past leaders should share their wealth with the Malays.
"Supposedly, he wants to tell past leaders to declare their wealth and help the poor," he said.
"Anwar is one of these past leaders who are accused of helping cronies.
"Declare your wealth during your time as deputy prime minister, as you are now demanding. And help the people with your own money, not that of the government."
Anwar had said during the Malaysia Madani open house in Penang last weekend that previous leaders had been playing up the issue of "helping the Malays" but only enriched themselves and their family members during their time in power.
Naming Mahathir as one of the politicians who had benefitted from Barisan Nasional's six decades in power, he said half their wealth should be given to the Malays.
"Tun Daim or Tun Mahathir, I don’t care. No matter how much wealth you own, RM10 billion or RM15 billion, if you want to say long live the Malays and fight for their rights, whatever it is you hoarded, return it back to the Malay people," he was reported as saying.
Mahathir, who sued Anwar on May 3 for defamation over accusations of having amassed wealth for himself and his children, said the prime minister supposedly had information on the "billions stolen" by him and his family.
"There is no need for me to declare my wealth because supposedly Anwar already knows," he said in a statement.
"He has many boxes of documents that are supposedly full of information about my wealth. Show this proof that Anwat has of my wealth in court. Then, the declaration of my wealth will be known to the world. There will be no need for me to declare anything.
"But Anwar also needs to declare his."