KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia- Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob promised legal measures on Tuesday, July 19, to protect the country’s assets worldwide, local media reported, as heirs to a 19th century sultan sought to enforce a $15 billion arbitration award via asset seizures.
The heirs are targeting Malaysian property overseas following the government’s refusal to recognize an arbitration award by a French court in February, which found it had reneged on a 1878 land leasing agreement between a British company and the last sultan of Sulu.
Malaysia, which took on the deal after independence from Britain and made nominal annual payments to the claimants until 2013, has obtained a stay on the case pending appeal.
The award remains enforceable outside France under a United Nations convention on arbitration, the claimants’ lawyers say.
Ismail Sabri said the government would use legal channels to defend its global assets, including those of state-linked companies.
“I give my assurance that we will not compromise or budge even an inch in defending the country’s rights and sovereignty,” state news agency Bernama quoted Ismail Sabri as saying.
Last week, two units of Malaysian state oil firm Petronas were seized in Luxembourg as part of efforts to enforce the award.
Petronas has described the seizure as “baseless” and said it was taking steps to protect its assets globally. – Rappler.com