SERDANG - With Low Taek Jho's US$250 million (S$344 million) superyacht secure in Malaysian custody, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is now turning his attention to the fugitive businessman's US$35 million (S$48.1 million) private jet.
The Bombardier Global 5000 jet, impounded by Singapore in February last year, is part of some US$1bil (RM4.08bil) in assets allegedly acquired with funds misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Asked whether Malaysia would take the jet, the Prime Minister replied: "Yes, I think so. We have to bring it back."
The private jet, along with the Equanimity superyacht, is part of assets that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to seize over its probe into a global conspiracy to launder funds related to 1MDB.
It was reported in February last year that the private jet, with the registration number N689WM, had been grounded at Singapore’s Seletar airport.
On whether discussions are ongoing to get back the private jet, Dr Mahathir said: "I don't know. Somebody else is doing it."
Asked for more details on who is making the arrangements, Dr Mahathir said:
"We are trying to get back all the money that has been stolen from us. We know who has it but we don't know where they are.
"And the need for us to access the money depends on us proving that it is our money."
Dr Mahathir said these after visiting an art exhibition at the Perdana University here yesterday.
The exhibition organised by the university is entitled "Tun M: A Forever Legacy", and showcases more than 100 artworks inspired by Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir, who is the founding chancellor of the university, attended the event with his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
On another matter, Dr Mahathir came out with his sarcastic wit in response to Low's allegation that the Prime Minister was "putting words into the mouth" of the US authorities when he said that the yacht's arrival in Malaysia last week was after negotiations with the US.
"I am very proud that I can put words in the mouth of the US Government. I must be greater than Trump (US president Donald Trump).
"You can ask the US authorities whether I put "words into their mouths", whether I typed out the words and shoved it down their throat," Dr Mahathir said.
Low's spokesman, in a statement yesterday, alleged that proper legal process was not part of Dr Mahathir's administration.
This was in reference to the Prime Minister's comments on Saturday when he said that the DOJ had assured Malaysia that the RM1bil Equanimity belonged to Low, who is also known as Jho Low, and was bought using money stolen from 1MDB.