SINGAPORE, Nov 15 — The government moved the Equanimity from Port Klang to Langkawi to ensure the luxury yacht remains in tip-top condition, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today amid widespread buzz over social media over the relocation exercise.
The prime minister said since the yacht belongs to Malaysia, the government can move the vessel anywhere it wishes to.
“Ships must be run, you can’t keep a ship anchored all the time,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the 33rd Asean Summit here, referring to damages such as barnacles infestation.
“So you have to sail the ship at least once every few days,” he added.
The luxury yacht, which was linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, arrived in Langkawi yesterday for temporary docking after sailing from Port Klang.
The 92-meter-long yacht is currently docked at the Royal Malaysian Navy Naval Region 3 headquarters in Bukit Malut, said Langkawi district police chief Supt Mohd Iqbal Ibrahim.
“The court has decided that the Equanimity belongs to Malaysia; we can put it anywhere,” Dr Mahathir said.
However, the prime minister clarified that Putrajaya does not intend to keep the ship as it has no use for it, and is actively looking for a buyer.
On October 19, the High Court declared that the Equanimity belonged to the Malaysian government and 1MDB, as its beneficiary owner, when its registered owner failed to appear in court to claim the vessel, and the government could now sell the yacht.
On October 26, the Admiralty Court approved the terms and conditions for the bidding process for the vessel to commence from October 29 until November 28.
Lawyer Ong Chee Kwan, who represented 1MDB, said those interested in bidding for the vessel had to pay a deposit of US$1 million (RM4.17 million).
The Equanimity, valued at US$250 million, was allegedly bought by a Malaysian businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low using money stolen from scandal-tainted 1MDB.