Dr M Inspects Equanimity, Confirms Bought with 1MDB Money

2007
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Equanimity will not be opened for public viewing as it has to be kept in pristine condition since the government wants to sell it off, but the rakyat can look at photos to see the luxurious interior.

Dr Mahathir gushes about the superyacht: 

  • Superb, very luxurious
  • Fantastic elevators, where even the cables were hidden from sight
  • The furniture is special, I have never seen furniture like that anywhere else
  • The rooms are fantastic
  • Describing the most luxurious room in the ship which is the master bedroom – it has a glass roof, so one can sleep on the bed and look at the sky; there is a skylight, and of course if it is too hot you can close it; everything you can think of is found there, and many things you don’t even think about are also there

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today inspected the Equanimity at the Boustead Cruise Centre.

Dr Mahathir arrived at 11.40am on Saturday (Aug 11) and was welcomed by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.

Azinuddin Ghazali

Also present were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong, Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Jen Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

On Aug 6, the DOJ in a filing to the California Central District Court proposed a suspension of all proceedings in the department’s legal actions regarding the vessel.

This was to allow the US government and any interested claimant the opportunity to inquire of Malaysia through formal channels what its intentions are with respect to the superyacht.

Once Malaysia resolves ownership issues over the next six to nine months, the Equanimity could be the most expensive yacht to be auctioned off.

UK online ship valuation firm, VesselsValue, estimates its bid price at US$175 million (RM712 million).

According to Dr Mahathir, the Government aims to sell the RM1 billion superyacht to the highest bidder as soon as possible.

Azinuddin Ghazali

“We are going to sell the boat as soon as possible. The maintenance of this boat alone costs us RM2 million a month and we want to sell it as soon as possible,” Dr Mahathir told a media conference after spending about an hour touring the superyacht.

He said no time frame has been given to Jho Low to prove that the ship is his and not bought with money stolen from 1MDB if he wants to prevent the vessel from being sold off by the Government.

“(The) only person who wants to take legal action is Low. For him to take legal action, he can come and prove to us that it (the yacht) belongs to him.

Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

“It (the yacht) is very costly, so we want to know where he got the money (to buy it), and when we trace the money, eventually we will find that the money is from 1MDB,” Mahathir said.

He claimed that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) had assured the new government that the yacht belongs to Low and that it was paid for with “stolen money” from 1MDB.

“They (DOJ) said if we want to keep it, we are entitled to it because this is ours, bought with stolen Malaysian money, and when we eventually sell this boat, we are entitled to the proceeds.”

Asked whether anyone had expressed an interest in buying the Equanimity, Dr Mahathir said the Government has an idea of who may be interested.

He revealed he has heard of rumours of rich buyers wanting to purchase it.

He described the superyacht as being very luxurious.

“It’s very luxurious, super luxurious. I have been on yachts before but nothing like this. Everything is superb, and bought with stolen money, by crooks. We’ll get at the crooks,” he added.

On whether the public will be allowed to board the ship and have a look at its interior, he said the superyacht would not be open for public viewing.

He said since the Government plans to sell the Equanimity, it needs to be kept in very good condition.

“On yachts, people don’t even wear shoes, but we were given some privilege to wear shoes.

“But if we allowed hundreds of people to come and view the yacht, we might damage the yacht. It will give a very bad impression and buyers won’t want to buy the ship exhibited like that.

“So we cannot allow the public to view the yacht.”

However, Dr Mahathir said that photos have been taken of the vessel’s luxurious interior.

“We can show you what it is like,” he said, without giving further details on when the photos will be released.

Dr Mahathir said the ship had “fantastic” elevators inside it, where even the cables were hidden from sight.

“The furniture is special for this boat, I think. I have never seen furniture like that anywhere else, and the rooms are fantastic.”

Describing the most luxurious room in the ship which is the master bedroom, Dr Mahathir said the room has a glass roof, so one can sleep on the bed and look at the sky.

“There is a skylight, and of course if it is too hot you can close it. Everything you can think of is found there, and many things you don’t even think about are also there,” he said.

He said facilities on board the vessel included a gymnasium and sauna room.

When asked about the vessel’s crew members, Dr Mahathir said there were presently 18 of the original 35 on the yacht.

Asked about the ship’s value, he said some have valued the ship at more than US$100 million while others have said it is worth US$250 million.