Malaysia’s Sulu Case Win – Paris Court Orders Sulu Claimants To Pay €100,000, upholds ex AG Tommy Thomas challenge of arbitration process

In a letter dated Oct 14, 2019 addressed to the arbitrator, former Attorney General of Malaysia had said: “On behalf of the Government of Malaysia, I place on record that the entire process of this arbitration is challenged by Malaysia.”

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 – The Paris Court of Appeal on Tuesday, June 6, upheld Malaysia’s challenge against the partial award rendered on 25 May 2020 by Gonzalo Stampa in the case brought by eight
citizens (claimants) of the Philippines, said to be heirs of the Sultan of Sulu, on Sabah.

Dismissing the case with costs to the claimants, the court in its judgement also cited the statement of former Attorney General of Malaysia, Tommy Thomas who had challenged the entire arbitration process in 2019, “including the appointment of the tribunal and the selection of forum for the resolution of the purported dispute.”

In its judgement, the Paris Court of Appeal said the arbitral tribunal could not validly declare itself competent to hear the claims made by the claimants.

This ground for annulment requires the reversal of the disputed order and the refusal of enforcement of the contested award, without it being necessary to rule on the other grounds raised by the parties.

With the dismissal of the arbitration award of May 25, 2020 coming close to US$15 billion to the claimants, namely Nurhima Kiram Fornan, Mr. Fuad A. Kiram, Sheramar T. Kiram, Permaisuli Kiram-Guerzon, Taj Mahal Kiram-Tarsum Nuqui, Ahmad Nazar Kiram Sampang, Jenny KA Sampang, Widz Raunda Kiram Sampang, the court ordered them to pay Malaysia the sum of one hundred thousand euros (€100,000) under Article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

On Tuesday, Malaysia’s Minister of Law and Institutional Reform, Azalina Othman Said announced Malaysia’s win at the Paris court, saying that the decision, which was final and binding, was a decisive victory for Malaysia in its ongoing pursuit of legal remedies.

“As part of their abusive strategy, the Claimants have previously targeted Malaysia’s
diplomatic assets in France (including part of its Embassy) on the basis of this partial award.
Malaysia had been fighting these measures on the ground of diplomatic immunity. They must
now be withdrawn following today’s decision that refused to give any effect to the partial award
in France.”

— WE