Archived: Karpal: Stop payments to Sulus

GEORGE TOWN: The DAP has urged the Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail to obtain a High Court order in Kota Kinabalu to discontinue Malaysia’s cessation payment to heirs of Sultan Sulu over Sabah.

Chairman Karpal Singh called on Gani, who hails from Sabah, to spring to action immediately and file the necessary application as public interests demanded him to do so.

Senior parliamentarian Karpal noted that the cessation payment was on the authority of a 1938 order by then High Court of North Borneo.

The order allowed a petition of nine Sulu heirs to receive and share among themselves RM5,000, or now RM5,300, as annual payment.

The 1938 order actually has reinforced the payment that commenced very much earlier when the British took over Sabah.

Kadir Mohamad, agent for Malaysia in the ICJ case between Malaysia and Indonesia, said that Kuala Lumpur needed to continue honouring the 1938 judgment on the ground that any violation of that order can be challenged in court by interested parties.

Karpal conceded that a court order must be complied with unless it was set aside judicially.

“Contravention of a court order amounts to contempt of court and is punishable by committal to prison,” said Karpal, a veteran lawyer.

But, he said with the passage of time and with Sabah having joined Sarawak and Peninsular to form Malaysia, and recognition by Manila of Malaysia as a sovereign state by having ambassadorial level representation in the country, the Philippines cannot lay any claim to Sabah.

He said Malaysia was internationally recognised with Sabah as a sovereign state in the Federation of Malaysia since the North Borneo territory opted to join Malaysia on Aug 31, 1963.

“It’s ridiculous to continue paying the Sulu heirs when Malaysia and Sabah are independent and sovereign states,” Karpal told newsmen during a routine visit to his Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency here today.

‘Respect sacrifices of our forces’

He said the cessation payment was different from the “annual royalty” being paid by Penang to Kedah, as both these provinces were part of a sovereign Malaysia.

He said the fact that the payment has been continuously made for 131 years does not mean, having regard to passage of time and change of circumstances, that the case cannot be reopened with a view to the payment to be discontinued.

He stressed that the continued annual cessation payment pursuant to the 1938 order required review to discontinue the payment and this can be done by the High Court in Kota Kinabalu.

He referred to a 2011 Federal Court decision on Harcharan Singh Piara Singh vs Public Prosecutor where unanimously ruled that a a court of first instance, including High Court, must be equipped with residual jurisdiction to rehear and reopen its own earlier decision in a fit and proper case.

He said  that the cessation payment constitutes a fit and proper case for the High Court in Kota Kinabalu to review the 1938 decision and order it to be discontinued.

“The country’s sovereign should not be allowed to be compromised in any way. The sovereignty should and must stand pristine,” stressed the DAP supremo.

On the sedition charge against PKR vice-president Tian Chua for allegedly making statements linking the federal government to the Lahad Datu shooting, Karpal acknowledged that the Batu MP had denied making such remarks.

But, he stressed that the DAP stand was clear that no one should make a statement insulting the armed forces, especially when they were defending the nation’s independence and sovereignty against alien forces.

He said the DAP stand was that all Malaysians should stand united against intrusions by foreign forces.

“The DAP is united against any intrusions. The sacrifices of the armed forces must be respected, appreciated and honoured by all Malaysians. It’s wrong to insult the role of armed forces,” said Karpal.