Huge crowd turns up at book signing by 'Billion Dollar Whale' author


Eager readers queue for the 'Billion Dollar Whale' book and book signing by Tom Wright at Kinokuniya Bookstores on Monday. – Photo by Davinia Rajadurai

Eager readers queue for the 'Billion Dollar Whale' book and book signing by Tom Wright at Kinokuniya Bookstores on Monday. – Photo by Davinia Rajadurai

KUALA LUMPUR: It's not often that you see large crowds turn up to meet a journalist.

Yet that's precisely what happened on Tuesday (Sept 25) when some 100-150 people turned up for a book signing by journalist Tom Wright, who along with Bradley Hope, was one of the authors of the hot new book, Billion Dollar Whale.

The signing, which took place at Kinokuniya Books, Suria KLCC here at 5.30pm, saw a huge response from Malaysian book lovers. According to people at the scene, people started queuing up for the book even from 3.30pm.

"The book is literally a blockbuster, with a queue snaking out of the bookshop over to the other side," said graphic designer Nicholas Chin, 34, who was one of those attending the event.

According to him, he arrived at the bookstore at 4.30pm, where he was one of the "lucky few" able to buy the book, which was snapped up very quickly.

Billion Dollar Whale is an expose on the wheeling and dealings of Malaysian businessman Jho Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho.

Jho Low has been accused by the US government of masterminding the theft of billions of dollars from the Malaysian state-owned investment fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was sent to bank accounts in Switzerland, Singapore and the Virgin Islands.

Attending the signing was former trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

"I'd like to congratulate you and Hope for having written this book, I'm sure it must have been very painstaking for you to collect all this data," said Rafidah.

Speaking during the signing, Wright said he was pleasantly surprised at the reaction to his book in Malaysia.

"When we first wrote it, (former prime minister Datuk Seri) Najib Tun Razak was still in power, we had to change the ending. We never thought the book would ever be released in Malaysia. We thought perhaps, we would be selling copies from Changi Airport," Wright said.

"When we started selling it here, the publisher (Hachette Books) couldn't believe the interest. I don't think the publisher has seen a book sell overseas like this before. It's an amazing thing," he added.

Also there to buy the book was lawyer Davinia Rajadurai, 38, who arrived at Kinokuniya at 3.30pm. She also managed to get the book and was able to get it signed.

"I've read the first chapter, it's very interesting. It should be a good read," Davinia said.