Govt has spent RM3.5mil on maintaining Equanimity

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has spent an estimated RM3.5mil on the maintenance of the luxury yacht Equanimity since taking possession of it in August, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"This includes cost of port services, maintenance costs and cost of hiring and upkeep of the ship's crew and legal fees," he told Tan Sri Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong Karang) in a written reply in Parliament on Wednesday (Nov 21).

Noh had asked the government about the latest status of the Equanimity and how much was spent to bring it back and maintain it.

Lim said 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has obtained a court order to appoint Winterbothams as the appraiser and the condition surveyor for Equanimity.

He said the same court order that was obtained on Oct 5 also appointed Burgess as the sole broker to assist the sale and the marketing process until it is fully completed by end of this year.

"Aside from that, a judgement in default for the issue of this yacht has been filed and the hearing process will be decided by the court soon," said Lim.

On Oct 19, the High Court declared that the Equanimity belonged to the Malaysian government and 1MDB as the beneficiary owner when its registered owner failed to show up in court to claim the vessel.

It ruled that the government could now sell the yacht.

On Oct 26, the Admiralty Court approved the terms and conditions for the bidding process for the vessel to commence from Oct 29 until Nov 28.

Lawyer Ong Chee Kwan, who represented 1MDB, said those interested in bidding the vessel had to pay a deposit of US$1mil (RM4.17mil).

Equanimity, valued at US$250mil (RM1.42bil), was allegedly bought by Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, using money stolen from scandal-tainted 1MDB.

It was seized in Bali, Indonesia in February before it was handed over to the Malaysian government in August.