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Ex-Shell employees suit within time frame

New Straits Times (Malaysia): ‘Ex-Shell employees’ suit within time frame’

“On Sept 20, 2004, the High Court in Miri ruled in favour of the ex-employees and said the retirement benefit under the Retirement Benefit Fund was ultra vires the Act. Sarawak Shell Berhad and Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd filed an appeal.”

Tuesday 18 October 2005

PUTRAJAYA, Mon. – The Court of Appeal today ruled that it has the jurisdiction to decide whether former employees of Sabah and Sarawak Shell had filed their civil action within six years.

A total of 398 ex-employees had sought a court ruling on whether their employers’ decision to deduct their contributions before paying out retirement benefits to them was against the Employees Provident Fund Act.

On Sept 20, 2004, the High Court in Miri ruled in favour of the ex-employees and said the retirement benefit under the Retirement Benefit Fund was ultra vires the Act.

Sarawak Shell Berhad and Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd filed an appeal.

Also appealing are seven individuals who are trustees of Shell Sarawak and Sabah Retirement Benefit Fund and Shell Sarawak and Sabah Provident Fund. The ex-employees, represented by Datuk Cyrus V. Das, today raised a preliminary objection before the Court of Appeal proceeded to hear the appeal proper. They claimed the companies should have raised the limitation issue before the trial judge.

(Any party intending to take action against another has to do so within a stipulated period, in this case, six years.) However, Datuk Cecil Abraham, who is assisting Queens’ Counsel Robert Ham, replied that the companies were not raising a new point of law at the appeal stage. He said the issue was in their pleadings.

Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamad, who dismissed the preliminary objection by the ex-employees, said the appellate court could hear the limitation issue along with other grounds of appeal. Sitting with him were Datuk Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Datin Paduka Zaleha Zahari. Their decision was unanimous.

The 398 claimed the companies made contributions to the retirement benefit fund as well as the EPF but when it came to repayments, they deducted their contributions to the EPF before paying the workers.

Hearing continues.

RELATED ARCHIVE ARTICLES

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)

ShellNews.net: Nearly 400 former Shell staff still wait on Malaysian Appeal Court hearing after winning their High Court Case claim against Shell: “Counsel for the plaintiffs, Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, brought to the courts attention the fact that the majority of the plaintiffs are well over the age of 60 and in weak and declining health. Posted 26 May 05

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