KUALA LUMPUR: The claims of the Sulu group against Malaysia will never be in their favour because Malaysia is a sovereign nation, according to experts.
Chairman of the Research Centre for History, Politics and International Affairs, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Samsudin, said Malaysia’s sovereignty can never be challenged by any party because it has been recognised by the United Nations (UN) during the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
“They may make such claims (for states/territories) within their own country, but this involves a sovereign country. In the context of international law, it could only be done between government and government or country and country.
“During the formation of Malaysia, the (Federal) Constitution was subsequently introduced and one of the key contents is the demarcation of state boundaries, including Sabah. So when we came up with the country’s map, we recognised Sabah as a sovereign state.
“At that time, we requested to UN to name the new country Malaysia and explain the new borders, which was accepted by them. It was also based on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961,” he said when appearing as a guest on the Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme discussing “Sulu: What’s Next?’ last night.
Mohd said the claims made by the purported heirs of the long-defunct Sulu Sultan against Malaysia through the international arbitration process were also unfounded and only based on individual interests, which would surely end in failure.
This is because the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration is not applicable to a sovereign country, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Norizan Kadir, senior history lecturer from the School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia described the actions of the Sulu group demanding payments from Malaysia as extreme and outrageous.
On Malaysia’s landmark victory at the Paris Court of Appeal, she said the court’s decision can be used as a precedent and thus be able to influence the decision in courts in other countries in regard to the claims made by the Sulu group.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that so far the Sulu claimants had taken legal action against Malaysia in four countries, namely Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and the Malaysian government has taken and is taking various counter-legal actions against them.
He said as a result of these active counter-measures, the Malaysian government on June 6 received another piece of good news when the French Appeals Court decided to cancel the exequatur issued by a Paris Court on Sept 29, 2021, recognising the preliminary award given by arbitrator Dr Gonzalo Stampa on May 25, 2020.
The prime minister said the French Appeals Court’s ruling was a significant success or landmark decision for Malaysia, proving the determination and firmness of the Malaysian government in tackling this issue.
The Sulu group was reported to have taken legal action through an arbitration process in the Spanish Court to seek compensation for land in Sabah, which was allegedly leased by their ancestors to a British trading company in 1878.