PM: The courts will be our front line in fight against Sulu heirs’ claims

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will defend its rights against claims by the self-proclaimed heirs of the Sulu sultanate in the courts, says the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic) said it might not be feasible to mobilise security assets to protect the country’s overseas interests but, since the matter had been brought to court, Malaysia would defend its position through the laws.

“We need not mobilise (security assets). Furthermore, it will not be easy as countries where the assets are located will not allow this.

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“So, we will defend and protect our rights through legal means.

“I give you my assurance and guarantee that we will not compromise and neither will we move an inch in protecting the rights, interests and sovereignty of the country,” he said when met after launching the National Security Conference here on Tuesday (July 19).

The Prime Minister had been asked if there was a need to mobilise security assets to protect Malaysia’s interests overseas.

Ismail Sabri also said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and PETRONAS will be having a session with lawmakers soon to explain the situation.

The Financial Times had reported that the so-called Sulu heirs had invoked the Paris arbitration court decision to award RM63bil to them.

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The eight Sulu heirs based in the Philippines were represented by London-based lawyers led by Elisabeth Mason.

The Financial Times, quoting lawyers for the group, said bailiffs in Luxembourg had seized the Luxembourg-registered subsidiaries – PETRONAS Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz) and PETRONAS South Caucasus – on behalf of their clients on July 11.

On July 13, Wan Junaidi said Malaysia had obtained a stay order on the RM63bil award.

The Paris Court of Appeal had allowed an application by the Malaysian government to suspend enforcing the final award dated Feb 28 following claims by parties who alleged that they were heirs and successors in interest to Sultan Jamalul Kiram II through an international arbitration proceeding in Madrid.

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With the stay order, the final award, which had been made by Spanish arbitrator Dr Gonzalo Stampa earlier, could not be enforced in any country pending a decision by the French court on the finality of the matter.

A special team led by Wan Junaidi has been formed to draft action plans to deal with the claims.