Azalina: Court set aside claim by ‘Sulu heirs’, disallowed seizure of Petronas asset in Luxembourg

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The District Court of Luxembourg had set aside the claim by a group who calls themselves Sultan of Sulu heirs for a Petronas asset in the country.

Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the court decision made on January 24 means that it was a victory for Malaysia who had never recognised the claimant of “awards” by a Madrid court in Spain last year led by lawyer Dr Gonzalo Stanpa.

“Malaysia has consistently refused to recognise the legitimacy of the purported arbitration orchestrated by the Claimants.

Hari Anggara

“Malaysia has availed itself of all available legal remedies to invalidate the appointment of Dr Stampa and his purported ‘awards’,” she said in a statement today.

The group made claims in the courts France in March last year in turns that Malaysia must pay the descendants US$14.9 billion (RM63.26 billion).

The dispute arises after “heirs” and “successors-in-interest” to Sultan Jamalul Kiram II initiated a claim against the government of Malaysia through an international arbitration proceeding in Madrid, Spain.

Azalina added that earlier, the French courts have stayed the enforcement of the purported “final award” rendered by Dr. Stampa in France, pending the outcome of Malaysia’s action to set aside the “final award”.

She said Malaysia had applied immediately to the District Court of Luxembourg to obtain interim relief in the form of the lifting of the attachment.

The hearing took place on December 5, 2022, before the judge of the District Court whereupon the attachment was set aside.

“This decision vindicates the government’s policy to vigorously defend Malaysia in every forum to ensure that Malaysia’s interests, sovereign immunity and sovereignty are protected and preserved at all times.

“The government will spare no effort to this end,” she said.

In June last year, two Luxembourg-registered subsidiaries of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) have been seized by “heirs” of the late Sultan of Sulu over a US$15 billion (approximately RM66.55 billion) legal dispute with the Malaysian government arising from an agreement signed 144 years ago.

The move is part of legal efforts by the Sulu heirs to win compensation over land in Sabah that they said their ancestor leased to a British trading company in 1878, before the discovery of vast natural resources in the area. – MMO