KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Two senior DAP leaders today pressed former attorney general (AG) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to confirm if he received any benefits or payments for helping to arrange a meeting between fugitive Low Taek Jho’s lawyers and current attorney general Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng also criticised the Attorney General’s Chambers’ (AGC) meetings with the lawyers of the fugitive — better known as Jho Low.
Lim noted that Malaysia has been unsuccessful in locating Low who is a wanted man with an Interpol red notice against him and has been charged in the US and Malaysian courts in his absence over his role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, but pointedly said Low himself had no problem in locating Idrus and that his representatives were even able to secure a meeting with the AGC.
“Idrus is wrong to allow the AGC to meet with Jho Low’s representatives. Instead of hunting Jho Low down, Idrus should explain why the AGC is willing to meet with Jho Low’s representatives.
“Is Idrus not sending the wrong message that Malaysia’s top law officer is willing to deal with crooks and wanted fugitives instead of steadfastly upholding the law without fear or favour?” the Bagan MP asked in a statement today.
Lim also suggested that Low “continues to exert considerable influence in government circles” to the point that he is able to engage Apandi to act on his behalf and to help him arrange meetings with the AGC and government agencies, before urging Apandi to explain himself.
“Will Mohamad Apandi Ali clarify his relationship with Jho Low as well as explain the benefits he received from this relationship with Jho Low?” he asked.
Lim highlighted that Apandi had in 2016 as AG during the Najib administration cleared then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB, before going on to suggest that clearing Najib of wrongdoing would also benefit Low in terms of criminal liability over 1MDB which has been described as the world’s largest financial scandal.
Najib is currently on trial over several cases including the misappropriation of more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds, and is currently also appealing his July 2020 conviction and sentencing to jail and RM210 million fine over the misappropriation of RM42 million of former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
While Apandi was reported to have helped arrange the meetings where Low’s representatives allegedly offered RM1.5 billion to Malaysia, he was yesterday quoted as saying that the meetings with Low’s representatives and the AGC were positive but were ultimately aborted by the AGC.
In a statement by the AG yesterday, the AGC confirmed that Low through his representatives had earlier this year attempted to engage with the Malaysian government for a settlement, and that Low’s representatives had met with government agencies including the AGC as part of the settlement attempts.
The AGC, however, also said it had rejected all offers from Low’s representatives for a settlement, and did not confirm or deny or clarify the amount of money — mentioned in news reports to be RM1.5 billion — said to have been offered by Low as settlement.
Lim today stressed that there should not be any settlement with Low over his alleged crimes, noting: “DAP fervently objects to any deal with Jho Low and the payment of either RM1.5 billion or any sum of money in exchange for absolving Jho Low of any crime committed. This is not only immoral and unethical but also legally wrong. After all, all of Jho Low’s assets amounting to billions of ringgit are liable to be confiscated upon being charged and convicted.”
DAP national legal bureau chairman Ramkarpal Singh stressed that Apandi must disclose if the meetings he helped to arrange between Low’s representatives and the AGC was with the aim of eventually having the Malaysian government drop criminal charges against Low. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
DAP national legal bureau chairman Ramkarpal Singh stressed that Apandi must disclose if the meetings he helped to arrange between Low’s representatives and the AGC was with the aim of eventually having the Malaysian government drop criminal charges against Low, saying that this is a “public interest” matter.
Ramkarpal also argued that any attempt to settle Low’s criminal cases in exchange for a sum of money “can be a form of corruption”, and pressed Apandi to disclose if he was told by Low’s representatives that this was Low’s intention.
Ramkarpal said Apandi — who was AG at the height of 1MDB scandal and who eventually cleared Najib of wrongdoing over 1MDB — should not have engaged with Low’s representatives but should have instead demanded his “surrender”.
“Apandi should further disclose if he was paid for his services by Low. If he was paid by Low, the question arises as to whether the said payment was from 1MDB funds,” the Bukit Gelugor MP said.
“It is strange that the very person who was once interested in bringing back Low to face charges in Malaysia is now involved in settlement negotiations with him,” he said, adding that Apandi should clear the air as soon as he can to avoid unnecessary speculation over the negotiations.
Apandi was appointed AG in 2015 under Najib’s tenure as prime minister before his service was terminated in June 2018 following the change in the federal government to Pakatan Harapan, and has since returned to private practice as a lawyer.
Apandi had in October 2020 sued the federal government over his termination as AG ahead of the expiry of his three-year term and had sought RM2.23 million in compensation, but the lawsuit was settled in April this year.