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FROM Abdullah Ang of the Malaysia Overseas Investment Corp “fame”, who made waves and finally ended in jail during the opening days of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Premiership, to today’s Jho Low, every Malaysian Prime Minister seems to have such a character in his orbit.
|Taek Jho Low|
These are people who entered through the back door or can call on the boss anytime they like without prior appointment. Not even the civil servants and the security staff can stop them from marching in a out of the big man’s office and residence.
But for some of them, their grand entrance did not always secure them a permanent place on the pedestal. Many fell when their mentors and protectors left office. Some were disgraced while others have to endure years of ridicule.
Now is the turn of Taek Jho Low aka Jho Low. When I asked Yahoo “Who is Jho Low?”, I found 299,000 results that relate to that name compared to Mohd Najib Abdul Razak (163,000), Mahathir Mohamad (586,000), Siti Nurhaliza (171,000) and yours truly (172,000).
One was a New York Post report of 8 Nov., 2009, which, among other things, has the following to say about this new Malaysian dealmaker.
"Diddy lived right below me, and that's where his [Low's] security staff is now," Hirtenstein said. "I know because I tried getting a friend in there. My friend offered $17,000; Jho Low came in with $20,000."
But Low's flashy ways during a time of economic hardship have appalled Park Imperial residents, who complain that the building's entire staff acts like his personal servants. Every day, shopping bags get delivered from the city's biggest stores, such as Bergdorf Goodman.
And Low's caravan of Escalades constantly crowds the area outside the building, several sources said.”
The Singapore Straits Times, has the following to say about Joe Low (sic): “Another low-profile businessman (in Mohd Najib’s list of advisers), he was a key architect of a multibillion-ringgit sovereign wealth fund established by the state of Terengganu.
The fund, called the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), has sparked controversy because it will be created using borrowed money and not existing capital held by the state. It will raise capital from a RM5 billion (S$2 billion) bond issue, which will be guaranteed by the Malaysian government.
Little is known of Penang-born Mr Low, who a TIA official said is an adviser to Malaysia's King, Sultan Mizan, and has close ties with several Middle East investment funds.”
Malaysia Today news portal: “Mystery” man Jho Taek Low, who reportedly secured the RM500 million contract to redevelop the Sungai Besi airbase (Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia), is back in the spotlight, this time in France.
The millionaire businessman, who is closely linked to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s family, was detained together with famed Hollywood star Paris Hilton by French police.
|Having good time with Paris Hilton|
The paper reported that Hilton travelling with a personality who was “closely linked to the top Malaysian authorities” when she was detained.
|A kiss is A kiss in St. Tropez|
|Let the good times roll|
Police found less than a gram of cannabis in her handbag, and released her soon afterwards without charge.
According to Corse-Matin newspaper, Hilton was travelling on the private jet with "people close to power in Malaysia", and was due to travel by yacht to the luxury resort of Porto Cervo in Sardinia, Italy.
The incident is the American's second brush with the law this month.
The 29-year-old was arrested during the World Cup in South Africa after a friend she was with took a joint to the Brazil-Netherlands quarter-final match in Port Elizabeth.”
A website called taek-jho-low.com has the following to say about this mystery man: “Taek Jho Low has been Group Advisor and Non Independent & Non Executive Director of UBG Berhad since September 19, 2008. Mr. Low serves as group advisor of several international firms, involved in global private equity, mergers & acquisitions, buyout, government-to-government offset structured investments and financing, networking and financial aid. Mr. Low graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics majoring in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.”
Whoever he is, if indeed he is linked to the Prime Minister or members of his family, Mohd Najib has to come clean for the sake of the credibility of his administration.
The Prime Minister should be transparent about the relationship with Jho Low. There’s a strong lesson to be learnt from his predecessor’s entanglement with similar dealmakers.