The Malaysian government scored a major win against Sulu heirs who were awarded a $15-billion claim for reparations over the Sabah territorial dispute.
According to a Bloomberg report, France’s court of appeals ruled that the arbitration court which instructed Malaysia to make the payment had no jurisdiction over the territorial row, making the payment claim for the Philippine-based heirs invalid.
The dispute stemmed from a lease contract signed by the Sulu sultanate in 1878 for Sabah, whose occupants eventually chose to be a part of Malaysia rather than remain in the Philippines. As compensation, Kuala Lumpur paid 5,300 ringgit to the heirs of the Sulu sultan until 2013.
The lease payments stopped when Malaysian planes landed in Sabah due to a standoff with Philippine troops allegedly trying to “reclaim” the territory. The $15 billion represents delayed annual payments of Malaysia to the Philippines for renting out the island for the use of its residents.