PUTRAJAYA, June 3 ― The Malaysian government has denied in full and without limitation the allegations and insinuations in a letter sent by Paul H. Cohen, the lawyer to the party claiming to be the heir of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II (the claimant of the Sulu Group), to the Attorney General Chambers (AGC).

The letter, dated May 28, was received by the AGC the following day (May 29).

According to the AGC, the letter demanded the government to make immediate payment, before June 2, 2023, of the purported Final Award which amounts to US$16.412 billion (including 10 per cent interest) together with US$3,502,394.24 in counsel and expert fees and US$4,026,592.64 in arbitration costs.

“Considering that the legal proceedings are still ongoing, it is totally outrageous for the Claimants to demand the payment of the purported Final Award,” said the AGC in a statement today.

It said the allegations by Cohen were obviously false and a clear blatant disregard for the inescapable true facts of the Claims which will create a false written record to be eventually used against Malaysia.

In the letter, Cohen alleged, among others, that the Malaysian government purposely failed to comply with the purported Final Award and made outrageous assertions concerning the purported arbitrator, Dr. Gonzalo Stampa and his actions.

According to the AGC, the content of the letter mischaracterises Malaysia’s legal positions and inaccurately defames the action taken by the Malaysian government.

The Malaysian government opposes the Final Award and upholds its stance to not recognise all the actions taken by Dr. Stampa in the purported arbitration proceedings as well as all his illegal decisions and awards, it said, adding that the government responded to the letter from Cohen on May 31, 2023.

The AGC said a police report was also lodged two days ago (June 1) against Cohen for the unfair statement and allegations to allow for the necessary investigation to be made of any possible criminal offences committed under Malaysian laws.

The AGC said the Malaysian government will continue to take all necessary actions, including legal actions, to put an end to the Claims and to ensure that Malaysia’s interests, sovereign immunity and sovereignty are protected at all times.

The group claiming to be heirs of the Sulu Sultanate was reported to have taken legal action in the Spanish Court to seek compensation for land in Sabah, which was allegedly leased by their ancestors to a British trading company in 1878.

They then took the matter to the Spanish arbitrator in 2019 and the purported arbitrator, Stampa, who was appointed by the group of individuals, decided in their (the claimants') favour.

Stampa has issued a final award of US$14.9 billion (RM62.59 billion) against Malaysia and Malaysia has used all legal remedies to annul the award given by Stampa to claimants in courts in Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

On March 14 this year, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld the stay order obtained by the Malaysian government in France on July 12, 2022, against the enforcement of the award.

Therefore, the suspension order obtained by Malaysia regarding the enforcement of the award is maintained. ― Bernama