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INTERNATIONAL law does not recognise the use of history to advance your claims. Full stop.
If history can be used as an antecedent, the whole of South China Sea, which China is claiming based on sheer historical right, would have been an open and shut case.
However, the United Nations International Tribunal on the Laws of the Seas, of which the government of the Philippines is a litigant, successfully claimed that “history”, indeed cannot form the basis of China’s claim in 2017.
Indeed, with “living” civilisation traversing 5,000 years – so the Chinese often like to claim, augmented further by the scholar Zhang Wei Wei, who referred to China as a “civilisational state” – there isn’t a single part of Asia, or for that matter Africa, even the entire arch that forms the Silk Road, untouched by Chinese “history”. Even the computer bears the imprint of the famous Chinese abacus.
By this token, one of the most outrageous arguments of the “historical claims”, of the clan of Sultan Qiram, whom some believe has further sub divided into eight different clans, by some accounts a galling “16”, is that the Malaysian government is legally entitled to pay the clan as a whole a total of US$15 billion (RM66.8 billion).
Failing which, a compound interest rate of 10% would be added to the above amount each year. This is akin to the court acting as an illegal loan shark. That the adversarial French legal system can stoop so low is, for the lack of better word, abysmal.
What is unique is the nature of the first legal salvo of the Qiram “family”. Rather than reclaiming Sabah, it aimed at the most valuable asset of Malaysia: Petronas.,
If the legal claim is built on ownership of Sabah, shouldn’t the case revolve entirely and wholly on the state?
Yet it wasn’t. The Qiram family does not want the onerous responsibility of taking back one of the poorest states in Malaysia.
Goaded and shepherded by its money grabbing legal sherpa, Therium of London, the family was coached and perhaps coerced into cherry picking the law.
Thus, Petronas became its target. Should this act of helping the enemy of Sabah in “lawfare” come from within elements of the state, the laws of treason should abidingly apply without fail.
To be sure, the national oil and gas entity is indeed responsible for up to 11% of government revenue.
Should this action cripple Petronas, it is not a stretch to wonder if certain higher colonial forces are fanning the flames to burn Malaysia to a crisp.
By this token, everyone must be careful of the foreign machinations working in cahoots with some elements of Sabah to either reap a financial reward or exact the penalty Petronas is being asked to pay. Either way, the enemies within and without have won a handsome windfall.
There are three reasons why Malaysia needs to fight this legal farce that verges on a neo-colonial conspiracy of the worst kind.