KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho offered to help Malaysia’s negotiations with China over the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Tun Daim Zainuddin asserted.
In the continuation of his interview with the South China Morning Post, the government’s chief negotiator with Beijing alleged that Low, or Jho Low, contacted him when the former had been in China for the crucial talks.
“He said he can help...so I said, ‘Why don’t you come back here? Come and brief me here’.”
The former finance minister said he told the central figure in the global 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal that his help was not required.
Daim also said that was the “last time” Low had contacted him but the piece did not indicate how frequently the two had been in touch prior to that.
The head of the now-defunct Council of Eminent Persons declined to speak further about Low when pressed and stopped after saying it was “more complex than the ECRL”.
When contacted, Low’s spokesman disputed Daim’s recollection.
“Mr Low has never had any contact with Mr Daim and any assertion to the contrary is untrue and categorically denied,” the person was quoted as saying in the report.
Last month, Putrajaya announced the improved deal with China on the ECRL, which involved a supplementary agreement between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and the China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) following months of negotiations after the project was suspended last year.
The construction cost for Phases 1 and 2 of the ECRL was reduced to RM44 billion from its original cost of RM65.5 billion.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad later said the negotiations were completely separate from the whereabouts of Jho Low who is thought to be harbouring in China.