Now, Najib wants Dewan Rakyat debate on Sulu claim

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Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today called for a Dewan Rakyat debate on the descendants of the now-defunct Sulu sultanate and their claims, outlining six questions he had for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

  1. When did the Sulu descendants initiate the arbitration process?
  2. Did the Harapan cabinet discuss the arbitration process?
  3. Why did the Harapan-era attorney-general write a letter to the representatives of the Sulu sultanate to offer a payment of RM48,000?
  4. Was it true that the Harapan-era cabinet was unaware of the attorney-general’s 2019 letter to the Sulu sultanate?
  5. Can the letter be equated to the Johor government’s 1953 letter to Singapore over Pulau Batu Puteh?
  6. Does Harapan support former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and late DAP stalwart Karpal Singh’s position that there should be no payments to the Sulu sultanate?

Najib also condemned a 2019 letter written by then-attorney general (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, which has been used by lawyers representing the Sulu sultan’s heirs to refute Malaysia’s rejection of their identity.

In his letter, Thomas reportedly attached a copy of the 1939 judgment by Charles F Macaskie, the chief justice of the North Borneo High Court (as Sabah was called then) at the time and said that Malaysia did not dispute the identity of the individuals and their right to be paid.

He also reportedly expressed regret that payments ceased in 2013 and stated that Malaysia was “now ready and willing” to pay the Sulu sultan’s heirs arrears amounting to RM48,300.

“These questions should be answered so that PH does not wash their hands off the matter as if they are innocent and not used to blame the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in its past or current administrations,” he said in a post on his official Facebook page.


He demanded to know whether it was true that the issue of the Sulu sultan’s heirs was not brought up in the PH Cabinet discussions and that the PH Cabinet was unaware of Thomas’ letter.

He also wanted to know why Thomas had not sent a lawyer to fight the suit.

In 2013, Malaysia ceased payment of the RM5,300 cession money to the Sulu sultan’s heirs after an attack on Lahad Datu by self-described ruler Jamalul Kiram III.

This caused Luxembourg authorities to seize the assets of two Petronas subsidiaries on behalf of the Sulu sultan’s heirs in an effort to enforce an arbitration ruling they had secured against Malaysia.

Last week, the Paris Court of Appeal granted leave to Putrajaya’s application to suspend a previous ruling declaring Malaysia’s liability to a billion-ringgit settlement claimed by the Sulu sultan’s heirs.

Meanwhile, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli, leading a delegation of leaders from the party, lodged a report at the Setiawangsa police station in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (July 19) against Najib for failing to act on the claims by the self-proclaimed heirs of the Sulu sultanate.

At a press conference outside the station, Rafizi said Najib had failed to take action after halting the lease payment to the heirs in 2013.

He added that the notice of the suit was sent in 2017, when Najib was still prime minister.

“By right he would have known that this would invite some legal challenge. You get a letter of demand and normally you should reply straight away,” he said.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

Previously, Rafizi said he and PKR vice-president Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad would lodge police reports against Najib for alleged “negligence” over the claims by the self-proclaimed heirs of the Sulu sultanate.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil lodged a similar police report against Najib at the Pantai police station.

Fahmi said he expected hundreds of police reports to be lodged by PKR members and leaders on the issue today.

“It’s hard to predict (the number) but maybe in hundreds.

“In Kuala Lumpur, at least a dozen police reports may have been lodged,” said Fahmi, who is also the head of the Lembah Pantai PKR branch.

PKR Youth chief Adam Adli also lodged a similar report with members of the wing at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters (IPD).

Adam said several more police reports were lodged at the Sentul IPD, Bandar Tun Razak and in Shah Alam.

“With this mobilised effort, we hope the authorities can investigate the matter,” said Adam.

Rafizi also shared a draft report that PKR members can use to make their police reports on his social media.

He said he hopes the truth will come out from investigations, claiming that Najib has been getting away with saying whatever he wanted and passing blame on succeeding prime ministers starting with Tun Mahathir Mohammad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and incumbent Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“Najib was allowed to say anything on the Sulu heirs’ issue and was fast to divert the issue,” Rafizi said.