That one word sums up Putrajaya’s move to give Low Taek Jho the all-clear although he is still being investigated for crimes related to state investor 1MDB in other countries, said opposition politicians and a member of civil society.
They said Jho Low, a Malaysian financier, is a central figure in the abuses linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
This decision to close the case, they said, will make Malaysia a laughing stock all over the world since the scandal is still being investigated in the United States and other countries.
Amanah committee member Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said Putrajaya’s announcement that there is no case to convict Jho Low, has come about even as the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is initiating criminal proceedings on the 1MDB scandal.
“Malaysia seems to be more efficient than the DoJ which is assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
“Jho Low cannot be separated from 1MDB, just as 1MDB is inseparable from MO1,” the Sepang MP told The Malaysian Insight.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan had earlier confirmed that MO1, a term used by the DoJ, referred to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a statement yesterday said police have closed the investigations into Low.
Zahid, who is also deputy prime minister, issued the statement to deny earlier media reports which quoted him as saying in Parliament that Malaysia had requested Interpol’s assistance to help track down Low. He was responding to a question from Gombak MP Mohamed Azmin Ali.
However, later yesterday, Zahid said Malaysian police have closed their investigation into the businessman, a confidant of Najib.
DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua said Zahid’s about-turn proved that the deputy prime minister was all “empty talk” in his reply to Azmin’s question earlier in the Dewan Rakyat.
“This shows how our ministers are insulting the Dewan Rakyat, where the deputy prime minister can reverse the answer given without any basis.
“We urge Zahid to come to the Dewan Rakyat to give an official clarification on his reply to Azmin’s question and to allow the members of parliament to ask questions during the question-and-answer session,” he said.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said top Barisan Nasional leaders will now give the same answer, that “there is nothing more to be investigated with 1MDB”.
“We have reached a certain level now where nothing that is said or done by the government can be taken seriously.
“Jho Low obviously is a wanted person, linked to the largest scandal in the country’s history and one of the largest in the world.
“He needs to be found and arrested but unfortunately, the deputy prime minister is concerned only with his position,” said the Lembah Pantai MP.
Bersatu policy and strategy bureau head Dr Rais Husin said he watched the live parliamentary session on TV1 and clearly heard Zahid saying that Malaysia had sought Interpol’s help to track down Low.
“Zahid’s about-turn is surprising. We need to look at the Hansard in the Dewan Rakyat. And do not tell me that is gone, too.
“Just because we cannot find someone after getting help from Interpol, we close the investigation?”
Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel said the parliamentary reply from the home minister makes nonsense of the commitment under the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention (Uncac) where states are obliged to cooperate on cross-border corruption.
“The fact that the DoJ in the US and the Swiss government have named Jho Low as a person of interest and a central figure in the money-laundering scams linked to 1MDB shows a systematic cover up by the government of the largest money-laundering scandal in the world today.
“It is clear that Jho Low is being protected to protect those in the political leadership. Najib must answer the string of questions related to 1MDB before he faces the people in the next general election,” she said.
“C4 is confident that despite Malaysia’s determined attempts to close the case, the true truth behind the grand theft will be unravelled,” she said.
Low is a Malaysian businessman and the beneficiary of numerous discretionary trust assets that the DoJ allege were siphoned off from 1MDB funds.