Najib says Low was the one who arranged his meetings with late King Abdullah in Riyadh and Jeddah in 2010
by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ARIF KARTONO
THE infamous Jho Low had played a role in several other circumstances besides matters related to the scandalous 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), claimed former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s in his testimony.
On his second day in the witness stand, Najib (picture) testified that Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, arranged for waivers to be granted to Malaysian students to enter Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, without visa during the Arab Spring crisis, before they went to a Lembaga Tabung Haji-owned complex.
The defendant said Low arranged for two aircraft to transport the students from Egypt to Jeddah.
The Arab Spring was a series of uprisings which started in December 2010 when anti-government protests broke out in Tunisia and reverberated across several other Muslim countries including Morocco, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Bahrain.
The movements were triggered by a heightened political, economic and social oppression in the region, which subsequently led to regime changes in some of the countries involved.
Low’s assistance in extracting Malaysian students out of Egypt was among the reasons that fortified the trust that Najib had for the fugitive businessman in his relationship with Saudi Arabia, the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court was told.
Najib said the Penang-born businessman was the one who arranged his meetings with late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Riyadh and Jeddah in 2010.
He added that King Abdullah expressed support towards him in maintaining stability and upholding Islam, partly to avert any domino effect of Arab Spring in Malaysia.
“In mid-2010, Jho Low told me that King Abdullah agreed to give me support in the form of private donations. At the time, I was not informed on the amount or date, except that the donations would be managed through his prince,” the Pekan MP said at the KL High Court on Wednesday.
Low had told him that the quantum of the donations could be between US$100 million (RM418 million) and US$200 million, and he (Low) was the person who managed the incoming donations.
Najib first met Low in 2007 through his stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz and later learned that Low was successful in collaborating with the Arabs and Khazanah Nasional Bhd in the Iskandar development in Johor.
On his first day of testifying, Najib said Low was deemed influential in the Middle East and thus capable of facilitating investments with the nations.
He said the concept of Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), the state’s sovereign wealth fund prior being taken over by the federal government and turned into 1MDB, was born out of discussions between Low and the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.
Najib testified that Low was a close acquaintance to the Terengganu Ruler and his sister, Tengku Datuk Rahimah Sultan Mahmud, and that Low was an advisor to Sultan Mizan, the chairman of TIA’s board of advisors.