PETALING JAYA: The claim by heirs of the Sulu sultanate is not commercial in nature and therefore cannot be subject to arbitration, says the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).
In explaining why there was no representative sent to the arbitration proceedings in Spain, the AGC said the 1878 Agreement “contains no arbitration agreement”.
It also said that Putrajaya does not recognise the claim.
“We further stress that the identities of the heirs are doubtful and have yet to be verified,” it said.
The AGC said that in 2020, the Malaysian government had also filed for the recognition and enforcement of the Sabah High Court decision.
The Sabah court declared that as Malaysia had never waived its sovereign immunity, the arbitrator had no jurisdiction to resolve the matter.
It held that the Sabah court was the natural and proper forum to determine any claim in connection with the 1878 Agreement but the application had yet to be heard.
Therefore, the AGC said the government of Malaysia rejected the purported final award of RM62.59 billion (US$14.92 billion) dated Feb 28, rendered by Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa.
“This is because the appointment of the arbitrator for the purpose of the claim was not properly served on Malaysia in accordance with peremptory international rules and Spanish law.
“It is also not consistent with Madrid’s High Court case laws on service of process in sovereign states,” it said.
Additionally, the AGC said the heirs, in an attempt to circumvent this decision, without the Malaysian government’s knowledge, had proceeded to obtain an ex parte order (suspension order) in 2020 which was annulled in Paris. However, Stampa had violated the order.
“The Spanish public prosecutor has also filed a criminal complaint against Stampa (the arbitrator) for serious contempt of court and professional intrusiveness,” it said.
“The Malaysian government will continue to take all necessary actions, including legal actions, to put an end to the claim and to ensure that Malaysia’s interests, sovereign immunity and sovereignty are protected and preserved at all times.”
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