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Botched yacht seizure creates waves in Malaysia

A seized a luxury yacht sought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation is seen off the shore of Banoa, on the resort island of Bali

Nadhirah Sofea
Written by Nadhirah Sofea

KUALA LUMPUR – April 18, 2018: The decision by an Indonesia court to rule unlawful the recent seizure of a luxury yacht alleged to be  linked to the 1MDB controversy has generated a heated discussion in social media.

The yacht Equanimity which allegedly belonged to overseas-based Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho alias Jho Low was seized on February 28 by Indonesian police in Bali on the request of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Journalist/blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan commented at his blog that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) had wanted people to believe the yacht was among assets bought using US$4.5 billion allegedly siphoned from 1MDB.

He wrote that this despite 1MDB having repeatedly saying it had not lost any money. 

According to Ahirudin, the court decision proves the high-profile seizure of the yacht was a big mistake.  

Anonymous blogger A Voice wrote that the ruling was yet another example of how those who were critical of 1MDB had been wrong. 

Thurairaja Shanmugam, who commented at a newspaper’s Facebook page pointed out that the Indonesian court’s decision is based on technical grounds and that by right, the case should have been brought to the court or the relevant ministry first before the police seized the yacht.

“However, a sound legal team would emphasise the role of the police; was it to primarily conduct the operation or assist the DoJ’s international operation,” he added.

Facebook user, Ibrahim Ismail was of the opinion that Jho Low is not an official of 1MDB and therefore it is illegal to seize his belonging and therefore it is only right that the yacht is returned to him.

Twitter user Aruna tweeted that the case will probably be appealed.

“The fight is not over,” she added.

Fazlina Illiani tweeted that the outcome of the case made it clear that even the Indonesian government had to admit that it was wrong to seize the yacht. 

There were however many others who expressed dissatisfaction with the Indonesian court’s decision and some even accused it of being corrupt.

Gorgon Penang commented at The Star Facebook page that the Indonesian court could have been given some payment for reaching the decision.

“Well, now Indonesia also eats ‘dedak’ (taking bribe)? So, many countries now eat ‘dedak’ until you start to wonder whether the whole 1MDB and Jho Low fiasco is true or false,” he wrote.

David Ho Seng Kong wrote also at Facebook post that some misconduct must have taken place leading to the court’s decision.

“In the first place, who seized the yacht? Surely they must have studied all legalities before taking action,” he wrote.

Facebooker Napsiah Wan Salleh also expressed her dissatisfaction, making the same allegation against the Indonesian court. 

“Who got paid this time? Do not ever trust any news that tries to salvage 1MDB. Trust only the US Department of Justice and its in-depth money laundering investigation,” she wrote.

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Nadhirah Sofea

Nadhirah Sofea