Sulu Group Claims Govt Spent Rm31m On Legal Dispute Says Azalina
Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman is seen at the concourse during the Dewan Rakyat Session at Parliament February 14, 2023. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — The government spent about RM31 million on the handling of court cases, in four countries, in relation to the legal dispute filed by the Sulu group against Malaysia, from November 20, 2019, to January 20, this year.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Legal and Institutional Reform), Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, said that the amount included the cost of international legal services, court proceedings and translations, as well as historical and legal research.
“Specifically, just legal fees and payments alone amounted to RM36,000 (2019), RM167,000 (2020), RM8.2 million (2021), RM13.5 million (2022) and RM5.4 million (2023) in relation to court cases across four countries, namely Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands,” she said through a written reply, posted on the Parliament’s website.
She said this in her reply to a question from Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) regarding the legal costs involved in the Sulu group’s claims against Malaysia.
In addition, Azalina also said that the decision on the Malaysian government’s appeal against the French court order, dated September 29, 2022, is expected to be delivered this June, with the hearing of the appeal having taken place on February 6 at the French Court of Appeal.
The Sulu group was reported to have taken legal action in the Spanish court to seek compensation for land in Sabah that was allegedly leased by their ancestors to a British trading company in 1878.
On February 28, 2022, purported arbitrator, Gonzalo Stampa, was reported to have obtained a purported final award amounting to USD14.92 billion for the claimants (Sulu group) from a Paris Arbitration Court.
However, the French court granted Malaysia a stay order on the award issued by Stampa, pending the judicial decision of Malaysia’s action to set it aside on the basis that its enforcement may threaten Malaysia’s sovereignty over the Sabah region. — Bernama
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