Come back and face the authorities, Khairy tells Jho Low

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 13, 2018.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Rembau member of parliament (MP) Khairy Jamuluddin has asked fugitive financier and a key figure in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) to come back to Malaysia to face the law.

In a tweet yesterday, Khairy said, “Come back to Malaysia and face the authorities. If you are innocent, stop hiding. For as long as you are on the run and the other related court cases (SRC International) remain pending, my party cannot move beyond the 1MDB issue and rebuild.”

The MP was responding to Low’s statement yesterday that accused Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of “hijacking” the legal proceedings of other countries by seizing the Equanimity yacht illegally.

In a statement from Low’s spokesperson, he said: “It is clear that the (Dr) Mahathir regime has no interest in a fair and just legal process. His hijacking of established and long-running legal proceedings in other countries involving those governments (such as the United States) in the Equanimity matter prove this beyond any doubt.”

On Saturday, it was reported that after inspecting the yacht, Dr Mahathir told the media that Malaysia will sell the yacht as soon as possible to the highest bidder. He had said Low must prove that the yacht is his and not bought with money stolen from Malaysia if he does not want it to be sold by the government.

Last Tuesday, the Equanimity sailed into Malaysian waters, docking at Pulau Indah, Selangor where lawyers for 1MDB laid claim on the super yacht. This followed Indonesia’s agreement to return the yacht to Malaysia, which has claimed the yacht was bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

Indonesia and the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation had seized the yacht off Bali in February.  

Responding to questions over the legality of the yacht’s handover to Malaysia, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas asserted that the seizure of Equanimity followed Malaysian laws.

He added that the government was able to take possession of it as a result of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties between Indonesia, the US and Malaysia, which were activated after sensitive and delicate negotiations at the highest levels of various agencies of the three countries.

Khairy had been vocal on the need for change within Umno after the Barisan Nasional, led by then party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, lost the 14th general elections in May.  

Najib has since been charged with seven counts of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power over funds transferred from former 1MDB unit, SRC International, to his personal account.