KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — De facto law minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tengku Jaafar said today the Paris Court of Appeal had yesterday granted leave to Putrajaya's application to suspend the ruling that declared the Malaysian government was liable to a billion ringgit settlement claimed by heirs of the now-defunct Sulu sultanate.

In a statement, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department said the leave therefore means the previous ruling cannot be enforced in any country until an ultimatum is reached in Paris, after authorities in Luxembourg reportedly seized the assets of two Petronas subsidiaries claimed by the so-called sultanate.

"The Malaysian government stresses that it has never recognised the claim and has never put aside its sovereign immunity," Wan Junaidi said.

“[On] July 12, 2022, the Paris Court of Appeal had granted the application by the Malaysian government to suspend the Final Award dated February 28, 2022, that was issued by Dr Gonzalo Stampa following claims by parties that alleged to be heirs or successors-in-interest to Sultan Jamalul Kiram II (plaintiff).

“The basis of the Paris Court of Appeal ruling was that the Final Award threatens Malaysia’s sovereignty,” the minister added.

The suspension ruling would nullify any bid to enforce the Final Award in any country until a verdict is delivered by the Paris court, Wan Junaidi said.

Putrajaya had filed for Stampa’s removal as the arbiter by the High Court in Madrid in June last year. Stampa was eventually declared ineligible, and Putrajaya has used the verdict as the basis to reject the validity of the Final Award.

Yesterday, United Kingdom-based Financial Times reported that bailiffs in Luxembourg seized the holding companies and related assets valued at over US$2 billion (RM8.9 billion).

Petronas said it viewed the action of alleged seizure of its assets as baseless and is working vigorously to defend its legal position on this matter.

The subsidiaries, Petronas Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz) S.à r.l. and Petronas South Caucasus S.à r.l., previously divested their entire assets in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the proceeds from the exercise have been duly repatriated, it said in statement issued in response to the seizure.