World News


The Issue of Jho Low’s Cypriot Passport is Being Blown Way out of Proportion

The international community is in an uproar about Low Taek Jho receiving a Cypriot passport in 2015, with the Malaysian government at the forefront.

“How could Cyprus grant a criminal citizenship?,” was one headline, and demands for the government to revoke Low’s passport are streaming in.

Let’s zoom out of the media blaze and ask: back when Low Taek Jho received his Cypriot passport, was it a misstep by the Cyprus government?

Cyprus set up the passport plan in an effort to save the island state from imminent bankruptcy. As the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, stated, the passport plan worked successfully as “a driver for economic growth in the construction industry and for services offered by lawyers, accountants, and other professions.” It worked and the economic growth has been vastly on the rise ever since.

Unlike what the Politis report claimed, Low Taek Jho filed for his citizenship application two and a half months before he obtained his passport. Low received it only after he had fulfilled the requirements, and after the relevant agency had conducted an investigation into his background with Interpol, the Cyprus police and the bank through which he made his investment. Former Cyprus president, Socrates Hasicos, stated that the bank “confirmed the money was clean.”

So we have Low fulfilling the criteria which included making a cash deposit of €5 million euros (RM23 million) in a Cypriot bank for three years and purchase of a permanent home worth at least €500,000 euros (RM2.3 million), and he went through due process of investigation before he received the passport.

Despite the media jumping on the ‘Low is guilty’ bandwagon, he has yet to be tried or charged. And yes, the concept of innocent until proven guilty pertains to everyone including Low.

Furthermore, Low was offered asylum in August by a country that acts in line with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights, meaning there is reason to believe Malaysia is in the midst of political persecution of Low.

Should Cyprus then give in to the pressures by the world media and revoke Low Taek Jho’s passport immediately? Or should they believe in their system and take due process to assess whether Low was criminally charged before he received a passport and whether there is a legitimate reason to derail their passport plan that has been working for years.