PETALING JAYA: The government is investigating whether Malaysians aided the self-proclaimed heirs of the Sulu sultanate in their claims against the country, says law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said.
Any help provided by Malaysians to the so-called heirs would be considered an act of treason, she said. “We want to investigate who, from the country, is possibly involved,” Malaysiakini quoted her as saying.
Azalina said there were senior government officials who had made decisions without the Cabinet’s approval on matters of national interest and sovereignty.
“Such matters should be brought to the attention of the Cabinet. I believe in the principle of collective responsibility and the Cabinet’s responsibility to Parliament.”
She said the recent suits brought against the government by the so-called Sulu heirs should not have come about. “If they wanted to make a claim (to reinstate Malaysian government payments for the cession of Sabah), it should have been done in 2013.”
Annual payments of RM5,300 to the descendants of the Sulu sultan were discontinued by Malaysia after an armed group landed in Lahad Datu in 2013 to pursue a claim of sovereignty over Sabah.
A legal firm in London, representing a group of nine people based in the Philippines, has filed a series of legal actions against the government following a US$15 billion arbitration claim obtained by the group against Malaysia.
In the latest action, the Sulu descendants attempted to seize three Paris properties owned by the Malaysian government.
Azalina said Malaysia would not succumb to such tactics.
Malaysia has challenged the arbitration order in France and Spain. A French court has granted a stay order on the award, pending a decision on Malaysia’s claim that the order infringed its sovereignty over Sabah.
A Spanish court earlier this year annulled the appointment of the arbitrator who had granted the US$15 billion award.