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Malaysia triumphs in landmark victory over Sulu heirs in French court

6 June 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KUALA LUMPUR: Minister of Law and Institutional Reform, Azalina Othman Said, said Malaysia has secure landmark victory in the Paris Court of Appeal against claimants who alleged to be the heirs of the defunct Sultan of Sulu.

The court upheld Malaysia’s challenge against a partial award issued by an arbitrator, Gonzalo Stampa, in 25 May 2020, which had granted jurisdiction to the claimants over a dispute involving Sabah.

She stated that the court’s decision, means that the claimants cannot rely on the sham award in France for any purpose. The court found that the arbitrator wrongly upheld his jurisdiction.

“This decision, which is final and binding, is a decisive victory for Malaysia in its ongoing pursuit of legal remedies, which Malaysia is confident will result in comprehensive defeat for the claimants and their funders.

“As part of their abusive strategy, the claimants have previously targeted Malaysia's diplomatic assets in France (including part of its Embassy) on the basis of this partial award Malaysia had been fighting these measures on the ground of diplomatic immunity.

“They must now be withdrawn following today's decision that refused to give any effect to the partial award in France,” she said in a statement.

She added, importantly, the decision also implies that the court will annul the purported “Final Award” in which Stampa remarkably awarded close to USD 15 billion to the claimants.

“Malaysia is seeking to have the annulment recorded in a court decision as soon as possible, which should end the claimants’ global enforcement efforts,” she said.

Azalina, who chairs the special secretariat handling the case, welcomed the court’s decision and thanked the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and other ministers and officials for their support.

“We would like to thank Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister of Malaysia for his continued support and unwavering trust in our ongoing effort to uphold Malaysia’s position,” she added.

She also expressed her gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Seri Diraja Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, the Minister of Communications and Digital, Tuan Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil, the Attorney General, the State Government of Sabah, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Embassy in France, and other relevant ministries and agencies.

She said that Malaysia will continue to take all necessary actions including legal actions to put an end to the claims and to protect Malaysia’s interests, sovereign immunity and sovereignty at all times.


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