KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16): 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) non-executive director Tan Sri Ong Gim Huat is not just a friend, but also a business partner of 30 years of Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng.
Low is the father of Jho Low or Low Taek Jho, who is said to have influence over the operations of debt-laden 1MDB, the controversial sovereign wealth fund owned by the Ministry of Finance.
Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) documents show that Ong and Low are directors and shareholders of Wonder Bay Sdn Bhd, a Penang based property development company.
According to its Financial Year Dec 31, 2013 accounts, Wonder Bay did not have any revenue that year but it had assets of around RM22 million. The company has an issued capital of RM1.2 million.
The Low family company, Meng Tak Corporation Sdn Bhd (previously called Low Meng Tak Sdn Bhd) has a 30% stake in Wonder Bay.
Larry Low has a 15.82% interest in the company that was named after the family patriarch Low Meng Tak.
Ong is a shareholder and director of Kim Mansions Sdn Bhd which owns 50% of Buramal Sdn Bhd which, in turn, has a 33.33% stake in Wonder Bay.
Low and Ong were involved in Wonder Bay since its incorporation in 1995. In 2013, both men were conferred the title of Tan Sri by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. Mutual friends had put up an advertisement in newspapers congratulating the two men.
In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday, 1MDB president, Arul Kanda Kandasamy (pic, left) insisted that Jho Low had no involvement in 1MDB, and neither are any friends of Jho or the Low family involved with 1MDB.
On May 5, 2014 in response to articles about his involvement 1MDB, Jho Low, through his publicist, issued a statement to The Malaysian Insider stating that while he had provided advice to the Trengganu Investment Authority (TIA) from January to May 2009, he has not been involved since. TIA was re-named as 1MDB in September, 2009.
Ong joined the 1MDB board in January, 2010 shortly after the resignation of then EPF CEO Tan Sri Azlan Zainol and current Sime Darby Bhd CEO, Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.
The two men quit two months after 1MDB entered into US$2 billion joint-venture with PetroSaudi International which was subsequently called off and, according to 1MDB, the money were parked under the management of an asset manager in the Cayman Islands.
1MDB said recently the money has been redeemed but it did not bring it back to Malaysia.
Critics, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Daim Zainuddin and opposition lawmakers, have demanded for more transparency about all the money kept overseas.