Sulu claims: Euro court decision to set aside asset seizures a boost to rejection of future claims, says Bung Moktar

27 Jan 2023 08:32pm
Bung Moktar.
Bung Moktar.
KOTA KINABALU: The decision by a European court to set aside orders for the seizure of two Petronas companies and assets requested by the heirs to the Sulu Sultanate was a positive step which should reinforce the rejection of such claims, said Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

In commending the team led by Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun for the decision, Bung Moktar described the the initial success as providing some relief and renewed spirit to Sabahans in the defence of the state's sovereignty from external elements.

“It has been Sabah Umno’s firm stance that Sabah is an independent and sovereign region, which chose to form Malaysia, together with Sarawak and Malaya. Any attempt to challenge that sovereignty will be met with full opposition,” he said in a statement today.

Bung Moktar urged the Sabah government to issue a statement over the matter to prove to Sabahans that the state government was serious in defending its sovereignty against such claims.

Law and Institutional Reform Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had made the announcement over the decision by the District Court of Luxembourg on Thursday.

Azalina said Malaysia had applied immediately to the District Court to obtain interim relief in the form of the lifting of the attachment.

“The hearing then took place on Dec 5, 2022 before the judge of the District Court whereupon the attachment was set aside,” she said in a statement.

Bung Moktar however, reiterrated that Malaysia had only cleared the first hurdle as the decision by the District Court was only an interim relief and that the Sulu Sultanate heirs have yet to end their pursuit in via courts in Luxembourg, Spain and France.

“But hopefully, this initial victory can be a catalyst for the Spanish and French courts to (eventually) quash their bid,” he said.
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On July 11 last year, an attachment order was served to Petronas Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz) and Petronas South Caucasus for the seizure of their assets by bailiffs representing eight alleged Sulu heirs.

The claimants attempted to seize Petronas assets in Luxembourg last year, prompting Malaysia to initiate legal proceedings to stop the action.

Azalina said the Spanish court that appointed arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa, who purportedly granted the Sulu Sultante's claim of US$14.92 billlion (RM63.33 billion), had invalidated Stampa’s appointment and nullified the alleged “preliminary award” that he had rendered in Madrid.

She added the French courts have stayed the enforcement of the “final award” rendered by Stampa in France, pending the outcome of Malaysia’s action to set aside the final award.

A French arbitration court last year ordered Malaysia to pay the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu US$14.92 billlion (RM63.33 billion).