By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
The government plans to sell the Equanimity superyacht to the highest bidder “as soon as possible”, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We will have to invite, advertise worldwide that we have the ship here. All the papers will be shown to them to show that the ship belongs to us and we have the right to sell the ship,” Dr Mahathir said after inspecting the superyacht at the Boustead Cruise Centre in Port Klang, Selangor, on Saturday.
He also said no time frame is set for businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, to claim the RM1 billion yacht, before it is being sold to any buyer.
The luxurious yacht has been at the centre of seizure both in Malaysia and the US, following claims that it was purchased with stolen money from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
At present, Dr Mahathir said the government is aware of the people rumoured to have interests in purchasing the cruiser, citing any potential buyers must be “very very rich” who could afford it.
The PM described the Equanimity as super luxurious and worthy to be called as a ship instead of a yacht.
“I have been on a yacht before, but nothing like this. Everything is superb,” he said.
The Equanimity has a gymnasium, sauna, lifts, a master bedroom with an open sky view and custom-made furniture.
“Everything that you can think of is found there and many things that you don’t think about are also there,” he added.
Dr Mahathir revealed that the paintings allegedly bought by Low have been removed from the vessel.
For now, the maintenance cost of the ship is about RM2 million a month as it is docked in Port Klang, with 18 crews onboard out of 35 in total.
Access to get on board the ship is limited to avoid any damage and its value would be depreciated for it to be sold later on.
The Cayman Islands-registered yacht was one of the assets that included real estate, jewellery and a Picasso paint- ing that the US Department of Justice claimed were bought with 1MDB’s money.
Putrajaya has pledged to recover the money laundered from 1MDB, among others, including by working with the US, Swiss and Singapore authorities.
Ranked the 54th-largest in the world in 2017, the 91m Equanimity arrived in Malaysian shore last week from Batam, Indonesia, following a request by Dr Mahathir to his counterpart Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during the former’s visit to the country in June.
Low through his legal team has claimed the move to hand over the Equanimity to Malaysia was illegal and politically motivated.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun were also present during the superyacht tour.