No plans to monitor offshore state assets, govt vows legal action

by S BIRRUNTHA / Pic by BERNAMA

THE government has no plans to mobilise security assets to monitor offshore state assets from being confiscated by certain parties, says Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture).

However, he said the government is always sensitive and aware of what was happening and was ready in the legal aspect if any issue arose involving the country’s assets.

He added that the government has always been serious in protecting the country’s sovereignty and would never bow to any action that could be detrimental to the country.

“We don’t need (to move security assets), it’s not easy to bring security assets into other countries. They won’t allow it except for the United Nations.

“But we will protect state assets legally. Whatever happens, we will take this case to court.

“I assure you that we will not compromise and move an inch in terms of defending the rights and sovereignty of the country,” he said after officiating the National Security Conference 2022 in Putrajaya today.

Commenting on what happened to the assets of state-owned companies such as Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) abroad following the claim submitted by the Sulu group, the PM said the government had set up a special committee team to look into the claimed assets.

He stressed that the government will always look at any matters related to the country responsibly.

“Action is being taken, as the Parliament and Law Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar mentioned. We have set up a special team to look at this matter as a whole…not just involving Petronas.

“It includes other assets overseas, many more government-linked companies and other government agencies have assets overseas,” he noted.

Last Wednesday, the Cabinet set up a special team to study, monitor and formulate legal action to address the Sulu group’s claims against the government.

Announcing the matter, Wan Junaidi said, he will lead the special team involved, apart from Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun and experts on international arbitration.

On Feb 28, the Spanish news agency reported that the country’s arbitrator, Dr Gondoza Stampa, ordered Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion (RM62.59 billion) in compensation to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu.

Malaysia allegedly failed to pay RM5,300 a year in separatist money (compensation) since 2013 and allegedly violated the 1878 Agreement signed by Sultan Jamal Al-Alam with Baron De Overbeck and Alfred Dent representing the British North Borneo company.

On July 11, the plaintiff’s lawyer reportedly confiscated Petronas assets registered in Luxembourg, namely Petronas Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz) and Petronas South Caucasus, with a reported value of more than US$2 billion.

However, Petronas in its statement informed that it has disposed of two of its assets in Azerbaijan and the proceeds have been returned.

On July 12, the Paris Court of Appeal allowed the Malaysian government’s application to suspend the enforcement of the Final Award issued by the Paris Court of Arbitration, on the grounds that the law of the case affected the immunity of Malaysia’s sovereignty.