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How Malaysia ended up owing $15 billion to a sultan’s heirs

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By Rozanna Latiff and A. Ananthalakshmi KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia is scrambling to protect its assets as the descendants of the last sultan of the remote Philippine region of Sulu look to enforce a $15 billion arbitration award in a dispute over a colonial-era land deal. In 1878, two European colonists signed a deal with the sultan for the use of his territory in present-day Malaysia – an agreement that independent Malaysia honoured until 2013, paying the monarch’s descendants about $1,000 a year. Now, 144 years later after the original deal, Malaysia is on the hook for the second larg…

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