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Shell prefers to sue in Malaysia where justice can be bought by the litigant with the deepest pockets

Shell prefers to sue in Malaysia where justice can be bought by the litigant with the deepest pockets

 John Donovan

A “Live Chat” Guest on our website who currently uses the pseudonym of “MUSAINT”, has asked about the progress of the lawsuits involving the Malaysian Dr John Huong, who is being sued for defamation by EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies. On 14 February 2008, we published an article about events in Malaysia relating to corruption in the judiciary and commented on the defamation action and other cases involving Shell in Malaysia:

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

In the article, we mentioned a protest march by 800 Malaysian lawyers following the sensational revelation of a video clip in which a senior lawyer, VK Lingam, was allegedly engaged in a telephone conversation with a chief Justice of Malaysia in an act of corruption relating to another defamation action. 

The result of a subsequent investigation has just been published and we have reprinted a related article below. Suffice it to say that the corruption reached all the way to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. 

We do not want to say too much about the progress of the litigation involving the former Shell geologist Dr Huong because Shell is prone to automatically issue injunctions against him irrespective of the facts. The whole case against him is a complete fabrication. We wrote to the relevant High Court Judge and to Shell lawyers days after Shell issued proceedings in June 2004 admitting that we, not Dr Huong, were entirely responsible for the alleged defamatory comments posted on our website (which incidentally we stand by). Basically Shell sued the wrong party in respect of the wrong website in the wrong legal jurisdiction. 

We can only assume Shell chose to proceed in the Malaysian jurisdiction because of its cozy relationship with a thoroughly corrupt government and judiciary. The sleaze ball Malaysian government awarded a title to the ruthless Shell Country Chairman, “Datuk” Jon Chadwick; the Malaysian equivalent of being made a Lord in the UK under Blair. Chadwick is now a Shell Gas & Power Vice President. 

We can say based on information from our sources (we have many in Malaysia bearing in mind that SEVERAL HUNDRED former Shell Malaysian employees are suing Shell for unlawful deduction of retirement funds) that Shell’s case against Dr Huong, and his for wrongful dismissal against Shell, have both been put back to August. We understand that astonishingly, both Judges have been replaced. This is four years after the actions commenced. 

Printed below is the amazing article bringing the latest news on the corruption that has destroyed the credibility of the Malaysian judiciary and the Malaysian government. 

The Malaysian Insider: The Lingam Report

PUTRAJAYA, MAY 16 — A high-level inquiry found evidence that prominent government and judicial figures, including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, were involved in a conspiracy to manipulate the appointment of judges, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zaid Ibrahim said today.

The Associated Press said the Cabinet told the Attorney General’s office today to undertake immediate investigations into the “possibility that offences against the law have been committed,” Zaid told reporters.

The revelation deals a major blow to the reputation of Malaysia’s courts and bolsters allegations by many lawyers and opposition leaders that judicial corruption has tainted verdicts stretching back more than a decade.Demands for reform have jolted the judiciary after the opposition leaked a video in September that allegedly showed a well-connected lawyer, V.K. Lingam, speaking by telephone in 2001 to a former top judge, Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, about the promotion of judges.

Zaid said a panel that investigated the video found it was authentic

and Lingam apparently conspired with his allies in the judiciary, government and corporate world to broker the appointment of judges.

The video, filmed by a visitor to Lingam’s house, shows him talking about ways to help Ahmad Fairuz become Malaysia’s top-ranking judge with the help of business tycoon Vincent Tan and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, a former Cabinet minister.

In the video, Lingam is heard saying that he, Tan and Tengku Adnan had contacted Mahathir regarding judicial appointments.

The inquiry’s report said “there was conceivably an insidious movement by (Lingam) with the covert assistance of his close friends (Tan and Tengku Adnan) to involve themselves actively in the appointment of judges.”

“In the process … Mahathir was also entangled,” the report added. “Actions of the main characters concerned have the effect of seriously undermining and eroding the independence and integrity of the judiciary as a whole.”

Zaid said Lingam and the others would be investigated for possible offences such as obstruction of justice, sedition and leaking state secrets.

Tengku Adnan did not answer calls to his mobile phone. Aides to Lingam, Tan and Mahathir could not immediately be contacted.

All of them denied any wrongdoing while testifying at inquiry hearings earlier this year.

Lingam claimed he may have been drunk when the video was shot. Ahmad Fairuz, who became chief justice in 2003 and retired last year, denied speaking to Lingam. Dr Mahathir, Tengku Adnan and Tan insisted they were not part of any conspiracy.

Dr Mahathir, had recently claimed to have read an extract of the Royal Commission’s report and had said that there were attempts to implicate him even though there was no direct connection to the brokering of judicial appointments. 

In Malaysia’s legal system, the chief judge recommends candidates for senior judicial appointments and promotions to the prime minister, who can accept or reject those names.

Malaysia’s judiciary has long been plagued by claims of favouritism and influence-peddling. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced last month an independent panel would be established to help select new judges as part of legal reforms.

Zaid noted in his press statement today that the Cabinet has taken into account the recommendations from the Royal Commission to reform the judicial appointment process.

“In this regard, the government is now in the process of preparing the necessary laws for the establishment of the Judicial Appointment Commission. The government also proposes to include the recognition of ‘judicial power’ as proposed by the Commission,” he said, but added that the government had decided to pursue this particular course of action even before the report came out.

Copies of the Royal Commission’s report will be sold to the public as published and handed in to the King last Friday. However, the price has not been determined as yet.

Extracts from the report

On the authenticity of the video clip:

“In the final analysis, when all is said and done by the experts, both local and foreign, stripped off all the technical jargon that they used in their findings, when examined in the context of the direct or primary evidence of the maker of the video clip, coupled with that of the eyewitnesses, a simple question confronting the Commission can be posed in layman’s terms: Is the video clip genuine, real, reliable or trustworthy and therefore authentic? We have no hesitation in answering in the affirmative.” – page 45, paragraph 11. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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