PUTRAJAYA, July 15 — The Cabinet, in its meeting yesterday, has agreed to set up a special task force to study, monitor and formulate an appropriate action plan based on the provision of the law to address the issue of claims by the so-called heirs of the last Sultan of Sulu, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II on Malaysia.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the task force, which he chairs, also comprised Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idris Harun and experts in international arbitration.

“The Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU), together with the Attorney-General’s Chambers are in the midst of setting out the terms of reference (TOR). Additional members of the task force will be named if necessary,” he said in a statement here today.

The BHEUU and the Foreign Ministry will act as the secretariat for the task force.

Wan Junaidi said the government viewed seriously the issues involving the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate which jeopardised Malaysia’s interests and assets abroad, especially assets under government-linked companies.

“Therefore, the government will take proactive and aggressive action in addressing the issue to protect the country’s assets and sovereignty,” Wan Junaidi said.

It was reported that the assets of two Petronas subsidiaries in Azerbaijan were seized on July 11 by bailiffs for the heirs of the now-defunct Sulu sultanate, who were claiming US$14.92 billion (RM62.59 billion) from Malaysia.

The move was said to be part of legal efforts launched in 2017 by the heirs to receive compensation over land in Sabah which they claimed their ancestor had leased to a British trading company in 1878.

In March, a French arbitration court ruled that Malaysia, which inherited the lease obligations after it gained independence from Britain, must pay at least US$14.92 billion to the descendants of the last Sulu Sultan.

However, the Malaysian government did not recognise the claims and proceedings by the arbitration court in Paris, saying that the decision made by the arbitrator, Dr Gonzalo Stampa, was null and void after his appointment was revoked in 2021.

Last Tuesday, the Paris Court of Appeal allowed the Malaysian government’s application to stay the enforcement of the Final Award issued by the arbitration court on the ground that it would affect the immunity of Malaysia’s sovereignty.

In his statement on Wednesday, Wan Junaidi said as a result of the suspension order given by the Paris Court of Appeal, the Final Award cannot be enforced in any country until a final decision is made by the Paris Court regarding the Malaysia government’s application for cancellation of the Final Award.


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