PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Report has apologised to the Sultanah of Terengganu, Sultanah Nur Zahirah if she has been upset by any misinterpretation in a passage of its book on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
In a statement on Thursday (Sep 27), Sarawak Report clarified that it did not suggest that Sultanah Nur Zahirah was conspiring with businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, or involved in the government administration in the 1MDB affair.
It added that it did not suggest that Sultanah Nur Zahirah was in any way personally connected with the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) or the 1MDB board.
"The book does relay information that Jho Low boasted of mixing socially with the royal family and herself and, as with many of his business ventures, cited his social connections as opening doors to opportunities, such as his obtaining an advisory position on the TIA," Sarawak Report said in a statement posted on its website.
The lawyers of Sultanah Nur Zahirah have called for a press conference on Saturday (Sept 29), saying that they intend to sue Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown for allegedly defaming her in the book, The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé.
It tells the story behind the investigation into the 1MDB scandal and was officially unveiled on Sept 8.
1MDB started as TIA, a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2008 aimed at spurring sustainable socio-economic development in Terengganu for the long term. TIA was renamed 1MDB in January 2009.
"We note that the connection between Jho Low and the Terengganu royal family was in fact far closer to the sister of the Sultan, with whom Jho was directly connected in a business sense, and her husband, and on this basis later print runs of the book have removed the reference to the wife of the sultan and instead refer to the sister of the sultan as being Jho Low's prime social connection in Terengganu," added Sarawak Report.
Sarawak Report said that in neither case does the book suggest impropriety on the part of such contacts of Jho Low and nor did it suggest his engagement as an advisor of the fund was in itself a corrupt act.
"What was corrupt was the later theft of money from 1MDB, which was after the fund had been transferred from the purview of Terengganu altogether and had evolved into 1MDB," said Sarawak Report.
Sarawak Report suspected that the matter had been deliberately misinterpreted to the Sultanah by people seeking to cause trouble and assured her that a careful reading of the short passage should make it clear that no allegation was made against anyone in the Terengganu royal family regarding the 1MDB affair.
"We are sorry if she has been upset by any misinterpretations of our meaning and trust this clarifies the matter," said Sarawak Report.