The Hague: A Dutch Court of Appeal on Tuesday (June 27) rejected a bid by eight descendants of the former Sultan to enforce a US$15 billion arbitration award against the Malaysian government, calling the decision ” A landmark victory,” he said.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he believed the government was “closer than ever to the full void” of the award following the decision.
“Malaysia believes today’s decision… will put an end to plaintiffs’ frivolous attempts to enforce their purported final award in other jurisdictions,” Anwar said in a statement. .
Last year, the Paris Court of Arbitration awarded US$14.9 billion to the Filipino heirs of the last Sultan of Sulu in a long-running dispute with Malaysia over a colonial-era land deal.
They have since sought the seizure of Malaysian government assets in France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to enforce the ruling.
Malaysia, which did not participate in the arbitration, claims the proceedings are illegal. Although the French ruling was reserved, the ruling remains enforceable abroad under UN arbitration treaties.
In September, the heirs asked a Dutch court for permission to enforce the ruling in the Netherlands, according to Reuters.
But Dutch judges backed Malaysia, arguing that the original agreement lacked a clause binding the arbitration parties and that France’s retention meant that claims could not be enforced in the Netherlands, the court said. It was announced on its website Tuesday.
The ruling further added that “the court dismissed the Filipino national’s request for enforcement of the arbitration award.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.