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Letter from a Shell Whistleblower, Dr John Huong

By Dr. John Huong (right)

Below is a letter I last wrote on 3rd June 2004 to Shell Malaysian Management, hoping that if both sides entered into a constructive dialogue on a “without prejudice” basis, the matter could be resolved amicably despite the threats I had received on 17th May 2004 from their legal Manager Mr. Thavakumar Kandiahpillai.

It is significant that legitimate questions (“Confidentiality versus Shareholder’s interests”-25th May 2004) I posed to him about Shell’s ethical practices have remained unanswered.

I am still waiting for a reply to both of my letters from you Thavakumar and/or those in authority above you!

Date: 3rd June 2004

Dear Mr. Kandiahpillai and (including Jeroen Van der Veer, Malcolm Brinded, Jon Chadwick, etc.)

It is obvious that I posed some difficult questions as I have not received any response. I was not trying to be awkward.

I simply want Shell to deal with me sympathetically as a long-term employee who was very deeply hurt by the unfortunate way my employment with Shell ended. It was terribly distressing for me after so many decades.

Frankly it would be much preferable for this matter to be resolved directly with Shell if that is at all possible, rather than continuing to be embroiled in acrimony.

On my part, I am very willing to make in good faith attempt to resolve the matter amicably if Shell is willing to do likewise. As they say, it takes two to tango.

If we could find a solution from discussions held on a “without prejudice” basis, it would save further Shell management time and avoid potentially substantial lawyers’ fees.  It would also bring me some peace of mind.

I therefore believe that this is a sensible proposal which could produce a mutually beneficial result.

I am making this proposal to demonstrate that I am a reasonable person seeking a reasonable solution.


John Huong

Dr. John Huong Yiu Tuong


It seems that my letters including the above were not good enough for Shell management to take steps in resolving the conflicts.  I have not even received the courtesy of a response to the above proposal made in good faith. As a loyal and faithful employee of nearly 30 years standing I was unreasonably axed while protecting the shareholder, national and stakeholders interests. I am now taking steps to reveal to my extended family, the international audience, the predicaments and nightmares I have to go through in trying to abide with Shell’s SGBP.  At the end of the story you will understand the pervasive nature of Shell’s corporate culture which has unfortunately escalated to appalling gigantic proportions, resulting in the repeated downgrades of Shell oil and gas volumes which have made headlines around the globe.

If a company loses the trust and respect of its shareholders, employees, and customers, as Shell Management has done on a truly spectacular basis, then there’s only going to be a rather empty shell left.  It will obviously be a very long time before Shell could ever again use the famous advertising slogan “you can be sure of Shell”.

It seems that Mr. Jeroen van der Veer and Mr. Malcolm Brinded could not command any effective solutions to Shell management in the Operating companies in resolving my case. I am just wondering how Jeroen and Malcolm can have the time to consider the well-being of an individual axed-employee when they have to think around the clock for ways and means in undoing and/or hiding their own personal and professional wrong-doing? If only they could institute discipline and fair-minded management at the workplace, then Shell’s reputation will be given a breathing place to recover from being torn to pieces by the immoral self-serving attitude of Shell top management who appear to place their fat cat remuneration/pension packages above all other considerations, moral and legal.

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