Why threaten booksellers abroad but not here? Kit Siang asks Jho Low

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Lim said that the legal suit risks setting a dangerous precedent that could intimidate booksellers should Low’s team of lawyers succeed. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today accused fugitive financier Low Taek Jho of attempting to “short-circuit” the legal process by threatening distributors instead of the authors behind the book Billion Dollar Whale.

He also questioned why no such attempts are being made in Malaysia, or against other books such as Clare Rewcastle-Brown’s book, adding that the legal suit risks setting a dangerous precedent that could intimidate booksellers should Low’s team of lawyers succeed.

“The decision to threaten a book’s distributors and booksellers rather than the publisher or authors is an attempt to ‘short-circuit the legal process around libel law, and risks setting a precedent that would intimidate booksellers,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said in a statement.

“In Malaysia, there had been no action by Low’s lawyers to threaten legal action to stop the sale of Billion Dollar Whale or the other 1MDB scandal book, The Sarawak Report the Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose by Clare Rewcastle-Brown whether by Datuk Seri Najib Razak or Jho Low,” Lim added.

“Malaysians are entitled to ask both of them: Why are Jho Low’s lawyers threatening booksellers in Australia, UK and US with legal action if they sell Billion Dollar Whale when both Najib and Jho Low are not doing anything to stop the sale of the book and Clare’s The Sarawak Report in Malaysia?”

Australian newspaper, The Australian, today published a report headlined “Law threat to harpoon Billion Dollar Whale” on efforts by Jho Low through his lawyers to stop the sale of the Billion Dollar Whale by Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.

It reported that Low’s local lawyers, Mark O’Brien Legal have written to Australian booksellers threatening to sue for defamation unless they agree not to sell the book and to take a synopsis of the book down from their websites.

The news followed reports that Loh’s lawyers had already sent threatening letters to bookshops around the world in an attempt to block distribution of the book, which shares in details in over 300 pages how Low masterminded the 1MDB scandal.

The Guardian reported no UK publisher had agreed to publish Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World due to British libel laws.

It was also reported that the book’s US publisher Hachette is troubled by the alleged threat against booksellers.

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