PUTRAJAYA: The government will protect the country’s assets over claims by the Sulu sultanate’s heirs, says Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“Since they brought the case to court, we will also protect our assets through legal channels.
“I give the assurance that we will not compromise or even budge an inch in defending the country’s rights and sovereignty,” he told reporters after opening the 2022 National Security Conference, held in conjunction with the National Security Month celebration, here today.
He was responding to the legal action by the Sulu sultanate’s heirs who were reported to have threatened Malaysia’s interests and assets overseas, especially assets belonging to government-linked companies.
On July 12, the assets of Petronas’ two subsidiaries in Azerbaijan were reported to have been seized by court bailiffs acting on behalf of the sultan’s heirs who are 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 ancestors had leased to a British trading company in 1878.
Ismail said he was made to understand that Petronas and law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar would give an explanation to Parliament soon on the seizure of the Petronas assets in Azerbaijan.
He said the Cabinet had, on July 14, agreed to set up a special task force to study, monitor and formulate an appropriate action plan based on the provisions of the law to address the issue.
Asked about the need to mobilise security forces to defend the country’s assets overseas, he said: “It’s not easy to bring security forces to other countries, unless under the United Nations flag.”
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 grounds that it would affect the immunity of Malaysia’s sovereignty.
Wan Junaidi said that 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 decision is made by the Paris court regarding the Malaysian government’s application for cancellation of the final award.