KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 ― Malaysian Low Taek Jho is a “household name” by now following the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, a former senior civil servant who attended and recorded Cabinet meetings said today.
Former Cabinet deputy chief secretary Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid said, however, that she would not have known of him before the 1MDB issue cropped up.
Mazidah, who is the 11th prosecution witness in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's corruption trial over more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds, went through around 20 documents today including minutes of Cabinet meetings as early as 2009 to 2013.
Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib had asked Mazidah whether the name of Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low as he is otherwise known, was ever mentioned in these Cabinet documents.
After spending some time checking the documents, Mazidah said that Low's name was not seen in the Cabinet minutes.
Under cross-examination by Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Mazidah confirmed that Cabinet meetings would be recorded via tape, and agreed that sensitive matters that are stated to be “off record” would not be written down in the minutes of the Cabinet meeting.
She said such situations involving off-record matters happened “every now and then” and that it was normal, while also agreeing that she would need to refresh her memory of what happened in the weekly Cabinet meetings held 52 times a year by referring to the written minutes of Cabinet meetings.
Mazidah also agreed with Shafee that she can only be guided by what is written in the Cabinet meetings' minutes when asked by the prosecution if Low's name ever came up in such meetings.
Shafee: But that answer, may I suggest, is only true, as to what is written or not written?
Shafee: You can't remember if this name ever cropped up in Cabinet?
Shafee: Tan Sri, you of course have heard of the name of Jho Low or Low Taek Jho.
Mazidah: It's a household name.
Shafee: More so in some people's house than others. Since when it has become, as far as you are concerned, a household name?
Mazidah: Entahlah. Since the 1MDB issue. Can't say so that I know him. I know the person Jho Low after 1MDB cropped up, but earlier than that, I wouldn't know him.
Mazidah agreed that she only remembered Low's name as it is now a household name.
Shafee: But prior to that it wasn't a household name.
Shafee: So if his name was mentioned somewhere, including in the Cabinet, if ― I'm not saying it was mentioned ― if his name was mentioned, somewhere in the prime minister's office, before it became a household name, it is possible you may not remember?
Mazidah: I may not even know.
Najib’s trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon, with Shafee to continue cross-examining Mazidah.