Mahathir said any claimants to the yacht should provide proof that it belonged to them, and where they got the money to pay for it.
In a filing to a California court, the justice department proposed "that all proceedings in this action be suspended in order to give the government and any interested claimant the opportunity to inquire of Malaysia through formal channels what its intentions are with respect to the defendant yacht".
Indonesia handed over to Malaysia on Monday a $250 million luxury yacht, impounded earlier this year as part of an worldwide hunt for assets purchased with billions of dollars allegedly siphoned off from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Malaysia's attorney-general welcomed the boat being turned over, and said that "sensitive and delicate negotiations" had taken place between Malaysia, Indonesia and the U.S. to ensure it happened.
He also asked for investigations to be conducted to ascertain the yacht's ownership. United States investigators said Low bought the yacht with proceeds diverted from 1MDB. Cynthia Gabriel, a member of an official team set up to recover assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money, said that the Equanimity being handed over to Malaysia was "very significant".
The yacht was handed over to Malaysian authorities at the Indonesian island of Batam, and was expected to reach Malaysia's Port Klang "within 48 hours", a spokesman for Mahathir said in a text message.
It is learnt that the yacht has been sighted off the coast of Pengerang, Johor, as it rounded Singapore to head towards Port Klang. So we are rejecting help from Saudi, a nation that has a very good relationship with Malaysia. The seizure was later declared invalid and without legal basis, and so was nullified based on technical grounds.
In November a year ago, then Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein defended the setting up of the KSCIP in Putrajaya, against its detractors who were concerned that Malaysia might have painted a bull's-eye on itself for the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
On Sunday, Low issued a statement through his lawyers condemning Malaysia's possession of the yacht, claiming the move was "politically motivated" and that the decision went against court rulings in the USA and Indonesia.
"Actions like this make it increasingly clear that there is no jurisdiction where the issues in this case can be subject to a fair hearing thanks to a global media circus fuelled by politically motivated parties whose aim is to convict Mr Low in public arena".