The seized luxury yacht Equanimity was moved from Port Klang to Langkawi as it needed to be kept running, said Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad when asked by reporters about the vessel on Thursday (Nov 15).
“Ships cannot be kept at anchor all the time because they tend to have problems, such as barnacles,” said Dr Mahathir.
The yacht, which is linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, arrived in Langkawi Wednesday for temporary docking after sailing from Port Klang a day earlier.
The Cayman Islands-flagged Equanimity was seized in February at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation launched by the Department of Justice into Malaysian state fund 1MDB.
“Ships must be run. You have to sail the ship at least once every few days,” Dr Mahathir said to reporters after a bilateral meeting with his Australian counterpart Scott John Morrison on the sidelines of the 33rd ASEAN Summit.
The 92-metre-long yacht is currently docked at the Royal Malaysian Navy Naval Region 3 headquarters (Mawilla 3) jetty in Bukit Malut, Langkawi.
“The court has decided that the Equanimity belongs to Malaysia. We can put it anywhere but, of course, our main intention is not to keep the ship. We don’t need such a big ship. It is too luxurious for us.
“We want to sell. If you can find the buyer, tell us,” he said.
On Oct 26, the Admiralty Court approved the terms and conditions for the bidding for the vessel to take place from Oct 29 to Nov 28.
Seized in Bali in February, the Equanimity is valued at US$250 million. It was believed to have been bought by a Malaysian businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, allegedly using money stolen from 1MDB.
The Malaysian government took possession of the boat in August.
Dr Mahathir, who is the Member of Parliament for Langkawi, said in jest: “Thank you for the news (on the Equanimity). I hope when I go to Langkawi I can visit.”