What Malaysia is fighting for
In February 2022, eight individuals that claim to be the descendants of the so-called Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram II, received an award of $14.9bn against the Government of Malaysia. Over 16% of Malaysia’s yearly budget is now at stake.
Malaysia completely rejects the award, does not recognise its legitimacy, and is litigating across Europe to ensure that the award is overturned.
The Sulu case is a sophisticated abuse of the arbitral process and international law. It is an attempt to hold a sovereign state to ransom, and the continued existence of the award tarnishes the reputation of the globally respected arbitration system.
In June 2023, Malaysia won landmark victories in the Paris Court of Appeal and The Hague Court of Appeal, demonstrating the fundamentally flawed nature of the Sulu claim and a clear step towards the collapse of the case.
Madrid Criminal Case
The sole arbitrator responsible for issuing the so-called Final Award against the Government of Malaysia will face criminal trial in Madrid on 11 December 2023.
Dr Gonzalo Stampa faces charges brought by the Spanish Public Prosecutor and the Government of Malaysia, including for contempt of court because he wilfully and knowingly disobeyed the repeated orders of the High Court of Justice of Madrid that were binding on him and were communicated to him on six occasions.
The Spanish criminal proceedings played no role in determining Dr Stampa’s decision to move the seat of the arbitration to Paris. The criminal proceedings were initiated after this relocation of seat took place.
Malaysia has full faith in the criminal justice system of Spain and the importance of these proceedings in upholding the sanctity of international arbitration.
A timeline of the case, covering the history of the dispute dating back to the signing of the 1878 Agreement to the present day.
What is the current status of the dispute? Who are the claimants? See here forthe frequently asked questions in this case.