PETALING JAYA: Businessman Low Taek Jho today referred to the 1988 Malaysian judicial crisis in accusing Dr Mahathir Mohamad of violating the “rule of law”, after it was announced that the government would be handed over a luxury yacht linked to him.
In a statement through his legal team, Low, who is at the centre of investigations in Malaysia and the United States over allegations of embezzling billions of dollars from 1MDB, said the move was illegal and politically motivated.
“As he did in Malaysia’s 1988 judicial crisis, Mahathir is showing the world that his new regime still has no interest in the rule of law,” he said, referring to a crisis sparked by the removal of senior judges during Mahathir’s first term as prime minister.
Low said the latest action showed “how quickly the rule of law disappears in Mahathir’s regime”.
Indonesia has agreed to hand over to Malaysia the US$250 million luxury yacht called “Equanimity”, which was linked to the 1MDB scandal. It was impounded in Bali earlier this year by Indonesian police at the request of US authorities.
The decision was reportedly reached following a personal request by Mahathir.
Low’s whereabouts remain a mystery, as Malaysian police pursue him as part of the renewed investigations into 1MDB. His Malaysian passport was revoked and an arrest warrant was issued against him.
Low said the handing over of the yacht to Malaysia was also against recent court orders in the US.
He said the US’ Department of Justice (DoJ) had argued that the yacht should be in US possession until a court decides its final ownership.
“Actions like this make it increasingly clear that there is no jurisdiction where the issues in this case can be subject to a fair hearing, thanks to a global media circus fuelled by politically motivated parties whose aim is to convict Mr. Low in the public arena,” said the statement.
According to lawsuits filed by DoJ, Low used proceeds diverted from 1MDB to buy Equanimity, a 300-foot yacht registered in the Cayman Islands.