EMAIL TO SHELL MALAYSIA COUNTRY CHAIRMAN JON CHADWICK: Mon 13 Feb 2006 05:48 PM EST
FROM ALFRED DONOVAN
Dear Mr Chadwick
I read with great interest the article by Lyna Mohamad recently published by the Borneo Bulletin and BruDirect.com under the headline: -
“Brunei Shell Companies Recognize Long-Serving Employees”
It is certainly puts Shell in a rosy light. Several hundred of your former long-serving employees in the region will be aware that it paints a false picture if Shell’s conduct in Malaysia is any guide.
The following are headlines and extracts from two news reports about an on-going legal action against Shell brought by one group of 399 former employees of Shell in Malaysia.
“New Straits Times: Ageing and sickly, ex-Shell staff wait on court: “Some have died. Others are losing their memory and many are ailing.”: “399 former employees of Sarawak Shell Bhd and Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd engaged in a protracted legal battle with their ex-employers…” “claiming that they unlawfully deducted money from their internal retirement funds…”: “They won their case at the Miri High Court on Sept 20 but their employers filed an appeal.”: “For now, all they can do is hope their time doesn't run out.”
“Sarawak News: 399 Ex-Employees Of Shell Win Suit For Refund Estimated At RM100 Million: “The Miri High Court has ordered Sarawak Shell Bhd (SSB), Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (SSPC), the Trustees of Shell Sarawak and Sabah Retirement Fund (SSSRBF) and Shell Sarawak and Sabah Provident Fund (SSSPF), to pay nearly RM100 million to 399 former employees" (Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd is a UK company)”
Mr Chadwick, as you know this case is still dragging on years later while Shell tries to exploit a legal loophole in an attempt to evade its moral obligations. It is unseemly and ruthless behaviour for a multinational making record breaking multibillion dollar profits. Instead of using such excessive funds to settle this legitimate claim from former loyal employees, Shell senior management has been distracted ordering a fleet of luxury executive jets equipped with cocktail bars and thick carpeting. That is disgusting.
I will now turn to the extraordinary case of another former long-serving employee of Shell in Malaysia – Dr John Huong, an employee of 29 years standing.
As you are also well aware EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies ganged together in June 2004 to sue Dr Huong for libel in respect of articles published under his name on my website – ShellNews.net (AKA RoyalDutchShellPlc.com). Shell obtained a High Court Injunction and a Restraining Order against him and subsequently threatened him with imprisonment.
Shell has been aware throughout the last 18 months that in fact my son and I had far greater responsibility for the drafting and publishing of the prohibited articles than Dr Huong. Most of the commentary cited in your High Court documents was originated by my son or me, not by Dr Huong. Yet you persist in suing him alone.
I have subsequently posted the offending articles and extracts thereof on a host of other websites including for example the “TellShell” section on Shell’s OWN website (shell.com) on the BruDirect website located in Brunei, a neighbouring Country of Malaysia and now even on an award winning Malaysian website:-
Dr Huong had no knowledge or involvement in any of these
So when will you be suing me? How can you explain Shell’s written statement in May 2005 recognising my right to use the Internet to criticise Shell, while coming down as you have on a former employee for telling the truth? Why have you taken action against a Malaysian national but not against a white European?
Here are brief extracts from each of the offending articles: -
FIRST ARTICLE: "In my experience Shell directors” and Shell managers, “believe that truth is a precious commodity to be used as a last resort. It has to be squeezed out of them. They prefer to deceive, make empty pledges (Shell's code of ethics), intimidate,” ostracize, “hide information from their own shareholders”, employees, the government who gave them the license to operate and, and finally “retreating behind their army of lawyers” for shelter “whenever there is a prospect that management misdeeds will be exposed."
SECOND ARTICLE: “I have been unable to obtain any redress from this hypocritical Shell management which says one thing yet does another; a bunch of lying and deceitful bunglers, as has been revealed to the whole world by the oil reserves catastrophe which has pulverized Shell’s reputation.”
THIRD ARTICLE: DEFAMATION, SLANDER AND LIBEL: Mr. Lompoh and Mr. Kandiahpillai, no matter how much you like to talk about defamation, be it slander or libel about Shell management (including the Malaysian henchmen) there's no way for you to stop the continuous avalanche of bad news. You were the first to sour a wonderful and cordial communal relationship built up around Miri since 1910 and for the last years the inheritance built by our fore-fathers were destroyed and have come to a grinding halt; you just have to listen to the coffee shop talk. I now feel ashamed being identify with Shell.
END OF EXTRACTS
Shell’s draconian litigation has focused far more attention and public exposure on the grievances of a disgruntled employee than if it had simply allowed him to freely express his opinions on the Internet, which is a fundamental right in almost all free Countries. How can Shell’s actions be reconciled with your claimed support for the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience?
Has Shell no idea of how bad it looks that EIGHT companies have ganged up on one unemployed Malaysian and have insisted that the libel case is heard in Kuala Lumpur High Court, some 1300 kilometres from where he lives? He cannot get a job in his profession while the case hangs over his head and consequently cannot afford to keep travelling and staying in KP to attend hearings.
Of course you will soon leave all of the Shell employee litigation (I have only mentioned two cases – they are others) to take up a highly paid, fat cat appointment elsewhere, thereby leaving someone else to deal with the dreadful and wicked mess you have created. I will continue to follow the progression of your career with interest.
THE TRUE SITUATION ABOUT SHELL EMPLOYEES IN THE REGION IS INDEED VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE ROSY PICTURE PAINTED IN THE AFOREMENTIONED ARTICLE.
Please feel free to respond. I will happily publish any response in full, unedited.
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