Silence is not an option for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who must either act against businessperson Low Taek Jho or the US Department of Justice (DOJ), said former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir said 1MDB had been clearly implicated in the Indonesian authorities and US Federal Bureau of Investigations’ decision t seize Low’s US$250 million (RM1 billion) superyacht Equanimity which was allegedly commissioned using misappropriated 1MDB funds.
“Najib, as the person responsible in 1MDB, must report Low to the police to seek Interpol’s help to recover the RM1 billion in 1MDB funds.
“If the DOJ’s claim that Low had laundered 1MDB’s money to purchase the yacht is untrue, then Najib must file a (diplomatic) protest against the DOJ.
“But Najib has done neither,” Mahathir said in a blog post today.
Mahathir pointed out that Najib was the adviser to 1MDB and, according to the memorandum of Articles of Association, is the person with the final say in all of the fund’s decisions.
“That means Najib must take responsibility for what happened to the RM1 billion in 1MDB funds used by Jho Low to purchase the yacht Equanimity,” he said.
On Wednesday, Indonesian and US authorities in a joint operation seized the Equanimity off the coast of Teluk Benoa in Bali.
The yacht is among several assets allegedly acquired using misappropriated 1MDB funds laundered through the US financial system that the DOJ is seeking to forfeit.
The DOJ believes that at least US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and is seeking to seize US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly acquired using the stolen funds.
Mahathir pointed out that global action had been taken against 1MDB, including in Singapore and Switzerland.
He said this was in stark contrast to what was happening in Malaysia.
“What kind of government is this? Billions of government money has disappeared. This is borrowed money, we will need to pay it back, the people will need to pay it back.
“The government is silent, the prime minister is silent, the ministers are silent, the MPs are silent.
“Have their mouth been stuffed with too much animal feed (dedak) that they are all silent?” He said.
“Dedak” is colloquially used in the Malay language to refer to benefits or bribes given in exchange for subservience.
In the face of inaction by the current government on the 1MDB scandal, Mahathir said it was time for a change in government.