Najib says superyacht used for political mileage

Former prime minister Najib Razak says the luxury yacht Equanimity is being used in a ‘populist move’.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak said the luxury yacht Equanimity was being used for political mileage following its arrival at Port Klang today after its release by Indonesian authorities.

The former prime minister said the US$250 million (RM1 billion) vessel at the centre of a US investigation into 1MDB had not been pursued by the previous government as it was more interested in clearing the debts with International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

“That is worth much more than this Equanimity. But the Equanimity is being used again in a populist move.

“You’re going to get much more from the settlement with UAE and IPIC as opposed to just holding an open bidding for the Equanimity,” said Najib.

The yacht arrived from Batam today, months after it was seized in Indonesian waters following a request by US authorities. It has been linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, who is accused of embezzling billions of dollars from 1MDB.

Najib today said he had no knowledge about the yacht’s arrival.

“I have not been on board. I did not know about it until it came out in the press,” the former prime minister told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

He also questioned the legality of the yacht being surrendered to Malaysian authorities.

“It is not a clear-cut matter,” he said, adding that even Matthias Chang, the lawyer who was once arrested for reporting the 1MDB scandal to foreign authorities, had questioned the move.

On the government’s intention to sell off the yacht, Najib said not many people could afford to buy it, and its value had also depreciated.

Najib also said the owner of the yacht must be identified.

“We do not know, it’s subject to investigation… We have to find out who really owns the yacht,” he said.

IPIC v 1MDB: A mind-boggling settlement