In light of the fresh charges against fugitive financier Jho Low in absentia, DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang has questioned the efforts of former minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who had earlier promised to bring the wanted businessperson home.
"Firstly, what has happened to former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s self-appointed role and offer to bring Jho Low back to Malaysia to 'face justice'?
"Does this mean that Hishammuddin has tried but failed, or he has not tried at all? Malaysians are entitled to know," he said in a statement today.
He was referring to the offer made by Hishammuddin, who had been defence minister with the then BN government prior to the 14th general election, to bring Low back from China, where the latter is rumoured to be.
Hishammuddin had said he made the offer so as to see a resolution to the 1MDB case, and not to avoid any possible corruption charges, to which he added there was none.
"If I can help, I will go to the end of the world to find him (Low)," he had said at the time.
Lim's statement comes a day after Low, and four others – his aide Eric Tan Kim Loong, former 1MDB general counsel Loo Ai Swan, former 1MDB executive director Tang Keng Chee and ex-1MDB official Geh Choh Heng – were slapped with money-laundering charges in absentia by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
Arrest warrants have also been issued against the five.
Five money-laundering charges were filed against Low, or Low Taek Jho, totalling US$1.03 billion, while a separate joint money-laundering charge with Tan Kim Loong was filed for the amount of US$125.97 million.
In his statement today, Lim also took Low to task for his statement yesterday claiming the latter would be denied a fair trial in Malaysia, "where the regime has proven numerous times that they have no interest in the rule of law”.
"Although Jho Low is prepared to spend hundreds of millions of ringgit of 1MDB monies to lobby [...] US officials to drop the largest 1MDB kleptocratic litigation which had been filed by the US Department of Justice in July 2016 – which was recently revealed by the DOJ in the US courts – he had avoided the United States like a plague since July 2016.
"Which country’s legal system would Jho Low have confidence that he would get a fair trial and be prepared to submit himself to its jurisdiction?
"Jho Low is probably competing for a place in the Guinness Book of Records for an international fugitive from justice (fleeing from the most number of countries)," the Iskander Puteri MP quipped.
Lim further questioned if anyone from the former premier Najib Abdul Razak administration had been "directly or indirectly" advising Low, in view of the latter's statement yesterday critical of Dr Mahathir Mohamad's government.
He said: "Jho Low seemed to be making a political statement on behalf of Najib and the present opposition. Who are the politicians who have been advising Jho Low, whether directly or indirectly?
"Malaysians want to know whether Najib, the ministers in the Najib cabinet, and all leaders and MPs of the present opposition, agree with Jho Loh that in Malaysia, there is no independent legal process and (that) guilt has been determined by politics."
On Aug 24, it was reported that Jho Low and his father, Larry Low Hock Peng were also charged in absentia at the Putrajaya Sessions Court in relation to the misappropriation of 1MDB money for which Jho Low faces eight counts of money laundering while his father faces one charge.
The Penang-born businessperson was also in November charged in absentia in the United States, with multiple criminal charges in relation to 1MDB. Jho Low has consistently denied any wrongdoing.