The heirs of the late Sulu sultan, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II is once again trying to seize Malaysian assets. In his latest attempt, the Sulu Sultan asked a Dutch court for permission to seize Malaysian assets in the Netherlands, while seeking a US$15 billion (≈RM62.59 billion) arbitration award.
In February this year, a French arbitration court ordered Malaysia to pay US$15 billion (≈RM62.59 billion) to the descendants of the last Sultan of Sulu. However, Malaysia managed to obtain a stay on the ruling pending an appeal.
However, the award remains enforceable outside France under a United Nations treaty on international arbitration and the heirs of the Sultan is now asking the Dutch court to recognise and enforce the arbitration award.
The heirs wish to take “recourse against assets of Malaysia, which are located in the Netherlands”, Reuters reported but was unable to immediately verify the filing with Dutch court authorities.
In response, the de-facto law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Malaysia will exhaust all legal options to stop the heirs of a former Sulu sultan from enforcing the US$15 billion (≈RM62.59 billion) arbitration award.
“Malaysia has instituted legal proceedings in Luxembourg (earlier) and will take similar steps in the Netherlands to resist and set aside any attempt by the purported Sulu heirs to enforce or obtain a benefit from the impugned award,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
“Various Malaysian companies, including Petronas linked assets, were mentioned in the media reports.”
“I must stress here that Petronas’ assets are not assets belonging to the government of Malaysia and it would be an abuse of the process of any court to seek enforcement against such assets,” he added.
Wan Junaidi also commented that the latest attempt to seize assets in the Netherlands is nothing more than yet another opportunistic act that breaches and contravene international arbitration rules and norms under the New York Convention and The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
Wan Junaidi stressed that Malaysia’s main position is that the impugned award rendered in Paris in February 2022 was obtained irregularly and in circumstances of illegality.
“Additionally, no award should be enforced when doing so, it’s an unjust action that will cause severe repercussions to the stability of another country,” he said.