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Malaysia wins another legal battle against Sulu claimants in The Hague

27 June 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has secured another landmark victory in its fight against the Sulu claimants who are seeking to enforce a $15 billion arbitration award against the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Hague Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Malaysia by refusing to recognise the Final Award in the sham and abusive arbitration brought by the so-called heirs of the long-defunct Sultanate of Sulu who are the Claimants in this Sulu Case.

“This decision has blocked any attempt by the Claimants to enforce their illegitimate claims against the Government of Malaysia in the Netherlands. This verdict in The Hague Court of Appeal is another landmark victory for the Government of Malaysia following the Paris Court of Appeal’s decision on 6 June 2023.

“The Government of Malaysia is confident that we are now closer than ever to completely nullifying the sham and abusive Final Award amounting to approximately USD15 billion issued by Dr. Gonzalo Stampa, thus consigning the Claimants’ flawed claims to history,” Anwar said in a statement today.

He stressed that the Sulu case is a sophisticated abuse of the arbitral process and international law.

It is an attempt to hold a sovereign state to ransom, and the continued existence of the award tarnishes the reputation of the globally respected arbitration system.

“Malaysia trusts that today’s decision of The Hague Court of Appeal, combined with the recent decision of the Paris Court of Appeal, will put an end to the frivolous attempts of the Claimants to enforce the purported Final Award in other jurisdictions.

“Thus far, the Government of Malaysia has stopped at nothing in order to protect our sovereignty, national security and national interest. The Sulu case demonstrates a grave violation of Malaysia’s sovereign immunity which matters to very citizen of Malaysia MADANI.”

Anwar said that he was pleased with the outcome and thanked all those involved in defending Malaysia's sovereignty and national interest.

Those involved in the effort were Datuk Sri Azalina Othman (Chair of the Special Secretariat and Minister of Law and Institutional Reforms), Datuk Seri Diraja Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Ahmad Fahmi bin Mohamed Fadzil (Minister of Communications and Digital), Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution bin Ismail (Minister of Home Affairs), Tan Sri Idrus Harun (Attorney General) as well as all relevant Ministries and agencies, including the counsels and all other parties.

He said the government will fight by any means necessary against the flagrant exploitation and abuse of the international arbitral system as well as take all necessary actions to recover the costs for the public resources that Malaysia has been forced to expend in dealing with these claims.

Anwar added that Malaysia is confident that justice will prevail for its people.

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