SERDANG: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has responded to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s allegation that the Prime Minister was "putting words into the mouth" of the US Government in relation to Malaysia’s arrest of the Equanimity superyacht.
Low, also known as Jho Low, claimed that Malaysia was “putting words into the mouth” of the US authorities by saying the yacht’s arrival in the country last week was after negotiations with the Americans.
Asked for his comment on Low’s statement, Dr Mahathir in his trademark sarcastic wit replied: “I am very proud that I can put words in the mouth of the US Government. I must be greater than Trump (US President Donald Trump).
“You can ask the US authorities whether I put words into their mouths, whether I typed out the words and shoved it down their throat,” Dr Mahathir said.
The Prime Minister said this in response to questions by the media when met after visiting an art exhibition at the Perdana University here on Sunday.
The exhibition organised by the university is entitled “Tun M: A Forever Legacy”, and showcases more than 100 artworks inspired by Dr Mahathir’s legacy.
Dr Mahathir, who is the founding chancellor of the university, attended the event accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
The Prime Minister was also asked whether Malaysia was trying to get back a business jet which was suspected of being bought using money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“Yes, I think so, we have to bring it back,” Dr Mahathir replied.
“We are trying to get back all the money that has been stolen from us.
“We know who has it, but we don’t know where they are, and the need for us to access the money depends on us proving that it is our money,” the Prime Minister added.
On Saturday (Aug 11), Dr Mahathir said the RM1bil Equanimity would be sold “ASAP” to the highest bidder to recover stolen money used to buy the superyacht.
He said the US Department of Justice (DoJ) had assured Malaysia that the yacht belongs to Low, bought using money stolen from 1MDB.
According to Low's spokesman, the US has not proven anything.
"The truth is this: the US filed unproven allegations in a civil forfeiture complaint more than a year ago - then halted the proceedings before any party had any meaningful chance to respond.
“The allegations have ricocheted around the world for more than a year, repeated thousands of times,” said the spokesman in a statement released through his attorneys on Sunday.
“It is clear that the Malaysian government is lying and putting words into the US’ mouth.
"These repeated misstatements by Malaysia are embarrassing the US, which has stressed it has no involvement in the illegal seizure of the vessel and will update the US court on Aug 17,” said the spokesman.
The Equanimity is currently docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre in Pulau Indah, Port Klang.