The initiative taken by the government in explaining to the people the issue regarding the claims by a group claiming to be the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu against the Malaysian government has improved their understanding of the matter.
Leaders in Sabah, when interviewed by Bernama, welcomed the proactive and aggressive action by the government in handling the matter to protect the country's assets and sovereignty.
Kunak Assemblywoman Azlinah Ariff said the issue by the group should be resolved comprehensively from the beginning when the claim was brought to court.
"In the early stage, there was something secretive about the issue of the claim by the group. As such, I very much welcome what the government is doing to ensure that the people know the current status of the demand by the group,” she said.
She said the move in setting up the website, malaysia-sulucase.gov.my, which provides the latest information on the case, will also provide better undersanding regarding the issue to the public.
The website was launched last April 12 by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Legal and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The website, which can be accessed in five languages, namely Malay, English, French, Spanish and Tagalog, provides correct and authentic facts, rebuts accusations by the claimants and enable Malaysians and the international community to follow the progress of the case transparently and truthfully.
Meanwhile, Azlinah also suggested holding roadshows to explain the issue to the people at the grassroots and hoped that the issue could be resolved soon to prevent it being passed on to future generations.
Former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said the initiative taken by the government to make the people understand the issue would also fuel their love for the country, hence protect the country’s sovereignty.
He said the public understands the issue about the claim by the Sulu group, it is the issue of commercial claims involving the law that they may not understand fully.
"The engagement session on the issue, especially involving the government, experts and the people, needs to continue so that questions on the matter can answered clearly and in detail to provide a better understanding to the people," he said.
Pandikar Amin, who is also former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said that as a leader from Sabah, he also hoped the isssue on the claim by the Suly group can be resolved quickly so that it would not become an issue that will be passed on to future generations in the state.
Former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee said the Sabah claim and commercial claim by the Sulu group are two different things.
"Therefore, efforts to provide better understanding of the issue need to be strengthened so that the people are not confused. The Sabah people know this Sulu claim has been going on for decades... now there is an arbitration case," he added.
The Sulu group had been reported as having filed legal action through the Spanish Court to seek compensation for land in Sabah, which they claimed was leased by their ancestors to a British trading company in 1878.
On Feb 28, 2022, purported arbitrator, Gonzalo Stampa, was reported to have obtained a purported final award amounting to USD14.92 billion ( (RM62.59 bilion) for the claimants (Sulu group) from a Paris Arbitration Court.
The decision was used to seize Petronas assets in Luxembourg.
Malaysia has used all available legal remedies to nullify the awards given by Stampa to the group.
However, a 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.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency