Now, Najib wants Dewan Rakyat to debate Sulu sultanate issue

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today called for a Dewan Rakyat debate on the descendants of the now-defunct Sulu sultanate and their claims, outlining six questions he had for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

He also condemned a 2019 letter written by then-attorney general (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, which has been used by lawyers representing the Sulu sultan’s heirs to refute Malaysia’s rejection of their identity.

“These questions should be answered so that PH does not wash their hands off the matter as if they are innocent and not used to blame the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in its past or current administrations,” he said in a post on his official Facebook page.

He demanded to know whether it was true that the issue of the Sulu sultan’s heirs was not brought up in the PH Cabinet discussions and that the PH Cabinet was unaware of Thomas’ letter.

He also wanted to know when the Sulu sultan’s heirs began their suit against Malaysia and why Thomas had not sent a lawyer to fight the suit.

Besides that, he wished to know whether PH held the same opinion as the late Karpal Singh, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and legal analysts that the government should cease all payments to the Sulu sultan’s heirs and refuse to acknowledge their claim.

In his letter, Thomas reportedly attached a copy of the 1939 judgment by Charles F. Macaskie, the chief justice of the North Borneo High Court (as Sabah was called then) at the time and said that Malaysia did not dispute the identity of the individuals and their right to be paid.

He also reportedly expressed regret that payments ceased in 2013 and stated that Malaysia was “now ready and willing” to pay the Sulu sultan’s heirs arrears amounting to RM48,300.

In 2013, Malaysia ceased payment of the RM5,300 cession money to the Sulu sultan’s heirs after an attack on Lahad Datu by self-described ruler Jamalul Kiram III.

This caused Luxembourg authorities to seize the assets of two Petronas subsidiaries on behalf of the Sulu sultan’s heirs in an effort to enforce an arbitration ruling they had secured against Malaysia.

Last week, the Paris Court of Appeal granted leave to Putrajaya’s application to suspend a previous ruling declaring Malaysia’s liability to a billion-ringgit settlement claimed by the Sulu sultan’s heirs.

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