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Malaysia: Shell’s legal jurisdiction of choice where justice can be bought by the highest bidder

By John Donovan

We published articles last year relating to former Shell employees involved in litigation with Shell Malaysia.

“TEAM A” CASE: 399 SHELL PENSIONERS SUING SHELL

In a pension fund case involving 399 Shell Malaysia pensioners, the Appeal Court overturned a Judgment that Shell had made unlawful deductions from their retirement funds. One of the grounds cited in the judgment was that Shell was incapable of wrong doing: clearly bunkum bearing in mind Shell’s atrocious track record of securities fraud and other serious misdeeds which have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and court settlements. Many of the “399” claimants are elderly, sick and dying. Dozens have died. The Malaysian judiciary has let them down in the most dubious circumstances. “Team A” has been given leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

FORMER SHELL PRODUCTION GEOLOGIST DR JOHN HUONG

In another dreadful example of injustice, EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies have for nearly four years persecuted Shell whistleblower Dr John Huong by collectively bringing multiple court proceedings against him, including a defamation action, injunctions, and even a contempt of court case demanding his imprisonment. This is despite knowing since early July 2004 that they are suing the wrong party in the wrong legal jurisdiction in respect of the wrong website. The offending comments were published by Alfred and John Donovan (the author of this article) on their Shell website which is not located in Malaysia. Even though over three years have passed in which Dr Huong has been unable to obtain employment with the draconian proceedings hanging over his head, Shell has not pressed the original proceedings beyond initial formalities. There have been no witness statements, no discovery and no case management plan. What is happening is a disgraceful breach of of human rights. 

One of our recent articles focused on the meltdown of confidence in a corruption ridden Malaysian judiciary which resulted in a protest march by 800 Malaysian lawyers. I can only speculate on how Team A and Dr Huong feel knowing that justice in Malaysia can be bought by the party with the deepest pockets. A depressing prospect when your opponent is one of the worlds richest and most ruthless multinationals.

One of the appeal court Judges who ruled in the Team A case that Shell is incapable of wrongdoing is mired up to his neck in the corruption which has resulted in a Royal Commission of Inquiry. Evidence given in the hearings has revealed that a crooked senior lawyer, VK Lingam, was able to write part of a judgment by a High Court judge, Mokhtar Sidin, in a defamation suit.

The letter below was published in Malaysia yesterday on a popular website. It perhaps explains why Malaysia is a legal jurisdiction of choice for Shell, especially apparently for defamation proceedings.

Malaysiakini.com: Judiciary sold to the highest bidder

Nan | Feb 13, 08 2:47pm

I refer to Malaysiakini report Explosive revelations against Lingam.

Our justice system has hit a new low when it was revealed in the royal commission of inquiry into the Lingam tape scandal that the senior lawyer had himself wrote a judgment for a civil suit to allow an influential tycoon to win a record RM10 million judgment in a defamation suit.

Since when have our judges outsourced their work to third parties? This disgraceful incident might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Another starting revelation is that an ACA officer had given RM 3,000 to Lingam’s former secretary to persuade her to remain quiet about the infamous trip her former boss and a retired chief justice made to New Zealand. Only in this country will you find ACA officers who are entrusted to stop graft and abuse of power paying another person to keep quiet.

Now that it has been proven that a former chief justice had lied under oath (when he denied that Lingam had tagged along with him on his holiday to New Zealand) added together with the other issues raised by Lingam’s brother earlier, I think that it is only proper for the Attorney-General to reopen Eusoff Chin’s file again.

For laymen who want to seek justice in a court of law, they will now have to think twice. If the justice system is full of judges who are on the take, rich and powerful litigants will be able to buy their way and judgments will always be in their favour.

Sad to say, our judiciary has suffered the same fate as our parliament and executive where dishonest people have no compulsion about abusing their power for monetary rewards and think that their high office renders them “untouchable” for their misdeeds.

In Third World countries, you will find all this sort of rubbish. Reading all the evidence so far before the royal commission will make any decent and law-abiding citizen shake in his or her shoes. The last and final bastion for the common man to seek justice against the rich and powerful has been sold to the highest bidder.

These dishonest judges will besmirch other honest and god-fearing judges who do their work diligently and are firm and fair to all litigants who appear before them in the courts.

Let the truth and justice run their course before the royal commission and may the guilty parties who have sullied our judiciary pay dearly for their hideous crime which has brought much shame upon our nation.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/77991

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