Paris decision proof that Sulu claim on Sabah has no merit, says Hajiji

KOTA KINABALU: The claim on Sabah by the self-claimed Sulu sultanate heirs has been proven to be baseless with the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal that upholds Malaysia's challenge, says Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The Sabah Chief Minister said the decision vindicated the state government's stand all this while that the so-called Sabah claim has no merit whatsoever.

Hajiji, in welcoming the landmark court victory, said it further reinforces Sabah’s position in the Federation of Malaysia.

ALSO READ : Sulu claimants’ award thrown out by Paris Appeals Court

He said that Sabahans chose to jointly form the Federation through the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) therefore, any external claims against the state of Sabah will not be recognised at all by the people.

“The state government welcomes the decision and hopes that the Government of Malaysia will take all appropriate actions to put an end to the claim once and for all,” he said here on Wednesday (June 7).

“Sabah, through its Attorney General's Chambers will continue to play its role with the Federal Attorney General in dealing with the case,” he added.

On June 6 (Tuesday), the Paris Court of Appeal in France upheld Malaysia’s challenge against the decision by the Spanish court-appointed arbitrator for the Sulu claimants' case, Gonzalo Stampa on May 25, 2020 known as the “partial award.”

Stampa moved the arbitration to Paris after the same Spanish court annulled his appointment as an arbitrator on June 2021.

The Paris Court of Appeal’s decision ultimately means that the Sulu claimants’ US$14.94bil (RM68.83bil) compensation, which was the “final award” awarded by Stampa after moving the arbitration to Paris on Feb 28, 2022, cannot be enforced against Malaysia.

The Appeals Court had annulled the Paris Arbitration Court's purported award to the party claiming to be the heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II (the claimants of the Sulu group).

Following the decision, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said this meant that the claimants cannot rely on the sham award in France for any purpose.

“The Paris Court of Appeal found that the arbitrator wrongly upheld his jurisdiction," she added in a statement on Tuesday (June 6).

Azalina said Malaysia is seeking to have the annulment of the award recorded in a court decision as soon as possible, which should lead to the collapse of the claimants’ global enforcement efforts to date.

In February 2022, Putrajaya was ordered to pay US$14.94 to the descendants of the last Sulu sultan by a French arbitration court presided over by Stampa.

Subsequently, Malaysia challenged the arbitration order in France and Spain.

A French court then granted a stay order on the award, pending a decision on Malaysia’s claim that the order infringed its sovereignty over Sabah.

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