Kuala Lumpur—After Malaysia’s High Court ruled on May 30, Wednesday, that those who have an interest in 1MDB-related assets have until August 30 to challenge the assets forfeiture, the businessman at the heart of the 1MDB scandal, Low Taek Jho, more popularly known as Jho Low, wrote an open letter on his website saying that his Penang family home, which is included in the seized assets, has belonged to his family for years.
All in all, RM31 million (S$10.2 million) worth of assets were seized, including vehicles, designer handbags, watches and shoes, cash in various currencies, millions in bank accounts, and the home in Penang that is under the name of the mother of Mr Low, Goh Gaik Ewe.
According to the fugitive businessman’s letter, his parents “worked tirelessly for many decades” in order to provide for their children, and that his mother had been successful in her investments even before Mr Low was born.
Because of this, he wrote, not only were they able to buy 69 Tanjong Bunga Park, they became patrons who were able to “selflessly donate to and support their local communities,” just as his grandfather had been.
Therefore, as he wrote, “There is no question that the purchase and building of this family home predated the very existence of 1MDB by more than a decade. This point is irrefutable, and is supported by a wealth of evidence, including the Certificate of Occupation dated 13 July 2000.”
Malay Mail reported that it is trying to verify the document that Mr Low provided, which had been provided to the media through his United States lawyers.
Datuk Mazlan Mansor, the federal police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director, said two months ago that a three-storey house in Tanjung Bungah Park in Penang, owned by Mr Low’s mother, had been seized by the police.
The house is now reportedly worth RM15 million (S$4.93 million).
He further confirmed that a notice of seizure from the Attorney General’s Chambers, under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, had been issued by officers from the Bukit Aman’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Prevention (AMLA) division for the property.
Mr Low has been charged with money laundering in connection to the 1MDB scandal.
His open letter continues, “For the Malaysian government to now attempt to summarily seize my family home under the unequivocally false purported evidence and pretence that the purchase and building of the family home is somehow connected to the 1MDB allegations made against me is ludicrous, and yet another example of the regime’s willingness to trample on due process in order to exact political reprisals. It has been widely reported that the Mahathir regime has on numerous previous occasions fabricated evidence and abused and manipulated the judicial system to advance their agendas.
It is clear that the regime’s intent has always been to score ‘political wins’ by taking aim at me through whatever means necessary, including a sustained global media campaign to paint me and my family as “guilty fugitives” to pressure us, irrespective of the law or basic human rights. With the attempted seizure of my family’s home which was built decades ago prior to 1MDB, the regime wants to make it a personal vendetta by taking aim at my entire family, and as a consequence has jeopardized their safety. This sort of conduct by the Mahathir regime continues to damage Malaysia’s reputation at home and abroad and serves as yet more evidence of the inability to receive a fair trial under this regime.
Importantly, I am not the only one concerned about Mahathir’s anti-democratic leanings and disregard for the rule of law and basic human rights. Earlier this month, the Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch called the Mahathir regime’s approach to human rights a “profound disappointment.” In addition, just last month, Human Rights Watch condemned the Mahathir regime’s recent decision to withdraw from its commitment to the governing body that prosecutes genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, saying that such a decision makes a mockery of the Malaysian government’s commitment to justice.
Malaysians deserve better than what the Mahathir regime offers. They deserve a system of justice that is fair, impartial, and protects and upholds the basic rights that should be afforded to us all.”/ TISG