RM62 billion is an excessive amount to be paid to Sulu's Sultan - Experts

03 Mar 2022 11:19am
Photo for representational purpose only - Source: 123rf
Photo for representational purpose only - Source: 123rf

SHAH ALAM - History expert Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong is questioning the amount of compensation of at least RM62.59 billion that the Malaysian government has to pay to the descendants of the last Sultan of Sulu which he claimed was excessive.

According to him, if it was true that Malaysia needed to do so, the payment to be awarded should only be around RM53,000 based on a cession payment of RM5,300 per year.

“It should be around RM53,000 only, how is this calculated?

"The media should try giving an answer to the amount of compensation which is three million times the original agreement," he told Sinar Harian on Wednesday.

On Monday, Spanish news website La Información reported that Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa ordered Malaysia to pay compensation of at least US$14.92 billion (RM62.59 billion) to the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu.

Commenting further, Teo, however, said the 1878 Agreement was valid because it was recognised by the Malaysian government after taking over the administration of Sabah through the establishment of Malaysia in 1963, by continuing the payment since 1878.

“In this regard, the payment of RM5,300 a year continued until the Lahad Datu incident in 2013, when the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu attacked us in Sabah.

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"It has been almost 10 years since it stopped, which is actually against the agreement,” he said.

Meanwhile, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) constitutional expert, Professor Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood said the Malaysian government should not be responsible for the payment as ordered by the French Arbitration Court which decided over the matter.

This, he said was because in principle, the government was not bound by the decision if it did not give consent to the claim process.

“The arbitration issue was one sided and made without the consent or presence of the Malaysian government, so if there is a decision made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), basically the decision is not binding and the Malaysian government does not need to take any action.

“So the Malaysian government has no responsibility to pay the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu" he told Sinar Harian on Wednesday.

He said this when asked to comment on the La Información report.

Commenting further, Nik Ahmad Kamal said, the issue was believed to have raised to ruin the government’s reputation.

He added that the matter needed to be resolved according to the views and decisions of the Malaysian government possibly by was of discussion or negotiation.

However, he said if the government had participated in the PCA trial on the issue, the decision could still be set aside by taking it to the Malaysian High Court.

"The provision under Section 37 of the Arbitration Act 2005 states that if any PCA decision or arbitration decision is made, the High Court can review it," he said.