Commentary: Jho Low wishes Malaysia will forget about 1MDB and move on

An arrest of Jho Low would catapult 1MDB into public consciousness. But until that happens, the man and the issues around him are likely to fade away, says Professor James Chin.

(CNA) – The one factor that could influence the course of the next Malaysian General Election is Jho Low – with one condition.

Four years ago, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Barisan Nasional coalition lost power for the first time largely because of the 1MDB scam that cast such a large shadow on UMNO. It was impossible for UMNO under Najib Razak to survive the 14th General Election (GE14).

Four years and three changes of government later, the person that everyone says is the mastermind, Jho Low, is still missing despite a worldwide hunt. How is this possible?


Malaysian authorities have yet to close the file on 1MDB.

Malaysian police are looking into former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz and former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop for ties to 1MDB funds. Billions have also been recovered yet these are only sufficient to pay the debt principal of 1MDB bonds for 2022, the Finance Ministry said in January.

But the 1MDB file cannot be closed permanently until Jho Low, the person in the eye of this storm, appears in court to tell us what actually happened.

Yet he’s resisting that. Lawyers representing Jho Low filed a statement of defence at the Kuala Lumpur High Court last week, maintaining that he cannot be held liable for anything to do with 1MDB since he did not hold any official positions in 1MDB or its subsidiaries.

They were responding to a civil suit filed by 1MDB against Jho Low and his associates for US$3.78 billion last May. Yet if he’s innocent, why not appear in court and clear his name?

Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak arrives at the Duta Court complex awaiting a verdict in his corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur on Jul 28, 2020. (Photo: Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

Many people in Malaysia are under the impression that 1MDB issue is settled in the United States but this could not be further from the truth.

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