No instruction from Sultanah Nur Zahirah to appoint Jho Low in TIA, says ex-Terengganu MB

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Terengganu menteri besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said told the High Court here on Thursday (Aug 4) that he never received instructions or orders from the Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah to appoint fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, in the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).

Ahmad, 67, who was the menteri besar from 2008 to 2014, said he had also never received any advice or views on TIA from Sultanah Nur Zahirah.

He said this when cross-examined by lawyer Datuk Haziq Pillay Abdullah, representing Sultanah Nur Zahirah, during hearing of a defamation suit filed by Sultanah Nur Zahirah against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown and two others today.

The suit was over Rewcastle-Brown's allegations in the book, The Sarawak Report-The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose, which Sultanah Nur Zahirah claimed described her as an influential person who has the power to influence the Terengganu state government.

The two other defendants in the suit are Gerakbudaya Enterprise publisher Chong Ton Sin and printer Vinlin Press Sdn Bhd.

"As the senior chief executive of the state, which established TIA, I have never once seen Sultanah Nur Zahirah involved with TIA. I, as well as the state executive council (exco) had never appointed Jho Low as an advisor or a member of the board of directors or any position in TIA.

"Never had I met or held a meeting with the Sultanah of Terengganu when TIA was established. As such, I vehemently denied ever receiving instructions or orders that said the state government needed to appoint Jho Low, or anyone else," he said when testifying in an online proceeding.

In his witness statement, Ahmad, who is third and last witness for the plaintiff, said the allegation made against Sultanah Nur Zahirah that she used her position to influence the establishment of TIA was false, untrue and completely unfounded.

This, he said, was because Sultanah Nur Zahirah never had a role, let alone influenced or was involved in the establishment of TIA.

Ahmad told the court that TIA was established by the state government when he was the menteri besar.

Sultanah Nur Zahirah filed the suit on Nov 21, 2018, claiming that the said statement in the book, among others, meant that she was involved in corruption and interfered in the administration of the Terengganu government, besides using her status to influence the establishment of TIA, later known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Sultanah Nur Zahirah contended that the statement meant that she had helped fugitive businessman Jho Low or Low Taek Jho to become a TIA adviser.

The Sultanah is claiming general damages of RM100mil from each defendant and is also seeking an order for the publisher to withdraw the book containing the defamatory statement and for the printer to stop printing the book.

The hearing before Judicial Commissioner Dr John Lee Kien How @ Mohd Johan Lee continues. - Bernama

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