KUALAL LUMPUR, June 28: The Hague Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed the appeal by Sulu claimants to enforce the Final Award of close to US$15 to them following an arbitration process that has since been declared invalid.

In a statement issued here today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said the decision of the Dutch Court of Appeal was based on three reasons, firstly that the appointment of Dr. Gonzalo Stampa as an arbitrator had been cancelled by the Spanish Court, thereby canceling all the basis of his action immediately. Therefore, no recognition and enforcement of the Final Award can be implemented.

“In addition, the court also ruled that the 1878 Agreement does not have a valid arbitration clause considering that the clause referring to the Consul General of Borneo to resolve any dispute cannot be considered an arbitration clause. The Dutch Court of Appeal also found that the Award could not be recognized and enforced in the Netherlands following the postponement of the implementation of the Final Award in Paris.”

Azalina said with the judgement, the Sulu Prosecution has no legal basis to seize Malaysian assets in the Netherlands. The Paris Court of Appeal on 6 June 2023 upheld Malaysia’s opposition to “Early Judgment” Dr. Stampa against jurisdiction.