Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
A LAWMAKER wants the government to outline clearly how it intends to bring fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, back into the country.
“I want to know what actions are being taken to get Jho Low back into the country. Why are we not hearing anything of this now?” Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong) said when debating Budget 2021 yesterday.
Gobind cited a recent interview given by Jho Low to an international news channel which claimed, among others, that he had tried to bargain a deal in 2018 to secure his return.
“What are the actions and procedures involved to get Jho Low back instead of the Inspector-General of Police merely saying ‘please come back’, ” he asked.
Subang MP Wong Chen said the government should state whether the settlement agreement between the government, 1MDB and investment bank Goldman Sachs was protected by the Official Secrets Act.
He said details about the US$1.4bil (RM5.8bil) settlement should not be withheld by the “confidentiality clause” as MPs have the right to scrutinise them.
“Hiding the truth and facts of this settlement from Malaysians will amount to causing a second injury to all Malaysians.
“I ask the law minister to state whether the settlement agreement is an official secret document, protected by the OSA 1972, ” he said, referring to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.
Wong was speaking to reporters in response to a Parliamentary reply by Takiyuddin dated Nov 17 that the government could not provide details on the settlement due to confidentiality clauses.
“If the minister insists that this viewing will amount to a breach of the confidentiality clause, I would like the Attorney General to issue a public legal opinion on the matter.
“I also very much doubt that Goldman Sachs, the complicit party in 1MDB crimes, will dare to take any legal action to prevent elected Malaysian MPs access to view the settlement agreement, ” he said.
The settlement between the government and Goldman Sachs was achieved in July, where both sides reportedly said the deal includes a US$2.5bil (RM10.4bil) cash payout by the investment bank and a guarantee by the bank to return at least US$1.4bil from 1MDB assets seized around the world.
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