Malay ‘Billion Dollar Whale’ now in stores

(From left to right): Rashid Azad Khan, managing director of ZI Publications Sdn Bhd, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim and Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof at the launch of the BM version of ‘Billion Dollar Whale’.

PETALING JAYA: Local publishing company ZI Publications Sdn Bhd has published the Bahasa Malaysia version of the bestseller “Billion Dollar Whale”, a tell-all book on the infamous 1MDB scandal.

Its first print of 10,000 copies has been in stores nationwide for two weeks now and is enjoying brisk sales.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof launched the book this afternoon at an event held at the home of former minister Zaid Ibrahim, who owns ZI Publications.

The book is priced at RM70 in bookstores.

Zaid told the crowd at the launch that the book, which was translated by Zaleha Abidin, who was formerly with the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, was “well written” in a way that everyone could understand.

“Billion Dollar Whale”, written by Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, documents the 1MDB scandal and the role of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, who is accused of embezzling billions of dollars from the state fund.

“Billion Dollar Whale” was released by New York-based Hachette Books in September this year.

Later that month, Zaid said his publishing company had obtained the rights to translate and publish the Bahasa Malaysia version of the book.

At the time, Zaid had said the book’s Malay version would carry the book’s original title in English rather than a literal translation of the title which would read, “Ikan Paus Billion Dollar” — seen as distasteful by some.

Redzuan told a press conference later that he hoped the book, which he said was “excellently written”, would effectively penetrate the Malay demographic in Malaysia and enlighten them about the scandal and alleged wrongdoings.

He said some Malays were still “obsessed” with their choice of leaders. This is why they would probably shrug the book off as a “big lie”, he said.

“The people will only accept (the book) if they feel it can impact them.”

Redzuan said the scandal was what eventually got him involved in politics. He said he joined Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin as part of the original 12 to start PPBM.

He later ran for a parliamentary seat in Melaka. He is now the Alor Gajah MP and a minister in Mahathir’s Cabinet.

“People were talking about how bad Malaysia was. It was difficult to sell our country to them when I was a businessman and get them to come here and work with me.

“I did some private investigations and found out something was brewing in the country slowly,” he said, adding he was in touch with the US Department of Justice to find out more about 1MDB and the alleged money laundering going on.

Asked about the reluctance of Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, to return to Malaysia and answer allegations levelled against him in court, Redzuan said he felt it would be a waste of time to “hunt” for people like him.

He said he would leave it to the police to catch these culprits.

Jho Low proclaimed his defiance recently in response to a warrant of arrest issued against him by a court in connection with the 1MDB scandal, saying Mahathir’s government has “no regard for the rule of law”.

Zaid, meanwhile, who has since “retired” from politics and blogging in his personal capacity, said he would be getting himself involved in a food business. He said this was probably due to his roots in Kelantan, where entrepreneurship in food businesses is largely successful.

Zaid was among individuals instrumental in the coming together of opposition forces during the run-up to the 14th general election. Pakatan Harapan toppled Barisan Nasional on May 9.