By John Donovan
Geologist Dr John Huong, worked diligently as a Shell employee for 29 years. His falling out with Shell management stemmed back to his decision to place on record, in a Shell internal document, a conscience drive concern about safety issues and the fabrication of reserves volume for the Kinabalu oil field where he was the production geologist. History might have been very different if Shell management had listened.
Dr Huong was the first Shell employee to record in a Shell internal document his moral reservations about Shell management giving false information to Shell shareholders in relation to Shells claimed hydrocarbon reserves. The subsequent scandal destroyed Shell in the Anglo Dutch format in which it had prospered for over a 100 years.
Because Dr Huong has a social conscience and believes Shell management should abide by Shells Statement of General Business Principles – pledging honesty, integrity and openness in all of Shells dealings, he felt compelled to raise health and safety issues internally in respect of the duties assigned to him.
This turned out to be a turning point in his long and previously enjoyable career with Shell. Raising such concerns brought him nothing but grief. Basically Shell management’s attitude towards him changed overnight. After he was humiliated and dismissed, Dr John Huong chose this website as the public platform for his revelations about Shell managements blatant disregard for the safety of Shell employees.
Just after he had primed our audience on the revelations he intended to make, EIGHT companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group took the draconian step of obtaining a Malaysian High Court Injunction against him and bringing High Court proceedings alleging libel.
26 JUNE 2004: 8 DIFFERENT SHELL COMPANIES WITHIN THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL GROUP, ONE IN THE UK, ONE IN HOLLAND AND SIX IN THE FAR EAST, ISSUED A WRIT IN THE HIGH COURT OF MALAYA AT KUALA LUMPUR (CIVIL DIVISION) AND OBTAINED A RESTRAINING ORDER IN RELATION TO PAGES ON THIS WEBSITE
Dr. Huong has subsequently been censored, humiliated and punished for protecting national, shareholder, and internal stakeholder (employee) interests. It is plain that Shell acts differently towards its employees in Western Countries, compared with employees in some other Countries, such as Malaysia, who are treated with ingratitude and contempt, even after years of loyal service.
In early July 2002, not long before Dr Huong was dismissed, he made a mistake in his capacity as a Shell Asset Integrity Engineer of raising the issue of Shell Helicopter safety. This was after he had concluded that various incidents concerned with flight safety – red warning lights flickering during flight, and a series of unstable or aborted flights, violent vibration etc was causing considerable stress to the workforce. Within a matter of days news broke of a helicopter crash into the North Sea in which several Shell employees tragically lost their lives. The sad news added urgency to Dr Huongs concerns about Shell helicopter safety in Sarawak.
In keeping with his duties, Dr Huong gathered documentary evidence which revealed that passengers were ordered to board flights after repairs had just been carried out, without being informed that they were in effect test crews. A Shell employee stated in an email: I am not familiar with aviation procedure for testing aircraft after repair. However, I believed there should be more thorough & stringent test done before accepting the passengers.
On 18 July 2002, Dr Huong sent an email to his boss, Hee Len Hi, under the subject of Helicopter Services. He stated: For your info, Something important to know before someone get badly injured. Are we cost cutting too much at the expense of lives? All correspondence related to this subject are attached. Instead of being alarmed, Mr Hee Len Hi took exception to Dr Huong bringing the matter to his attention. The resulting animosity was according to Dr Huong, another factor in his subsequent wrongful dismissal on 28 May 2003.
On 7 July 2003, Dr Huong sent an email to Sir Phillip Watts (the then Group Chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell) and Dominique Gardy, a director of Shell E & P. He also copied it to Jon Chadwick. The subject: Train of Events Leading to Termination. This contained a disclosure about his concerns over helicopter safety. The email was ignored. Shell did not take any notice of his legitimate concerns about helicopter safety which fell within his responsibilities and used draconian legal measures to silence him after he was wrongfully dismissed.
The concerns expressed by Dr Huong (and other Shell staff in *internal emails) have been vindicated by helicopter crashes which subsequently occurred.
Several years have now passed. Shell has spent tons of shareholder funds on draconian defamation legal proceedings with related injunctions and demands for the imprisonment of Dr. Huong. Ironically, despite a settlement between the parties, the same information is still being published on the same website. The litigation was a complete waste of time and money.
Below is an index providing access to court documents and articles concerning Dr. John Huong Yiu Tuong.
ARTICLES PROHIBITED BY THE ORDER OF THE HIGH COURT OF MALAYA
LETTER FROM SOLICITORS ACTING FOR SHELL, TH LIEW & PARTNERS: 24 June 2004
HIGH COURT ORDER (English): June 2004
HIGH COURT AMENDED ORDER: (English): June 2004
STATEMENT OF CLAIM: (English) June 2004
SHELL AFFIDAVIT: (English) June 2004
SHELL AFFIDAVIT JULY 2004
RESPONSE FROM ALFRED DONOVAN TO DR HUONG: 2 JULY 04 (TO THE REQUEST OF DR HUONG TO REMOVE RELEVANT WEBPAGES AS PER COURT RESTRAINING ORDER)
FAXED LETTER SENT TO THE MALAYSIAN SOLICITORS, T H LIEW & PARTNERS, ACTING FOR 8 SHELL COMPANIES WHO ISSUED A HIGH COURT WRIT RELATING TO THIS WEBSITE: 5 JULY 2004
LETTER FAXED TO MALAYSIAN HIGH COURT JUDGE: 5 July 2004
STATEMENT BY ALFRED DONOVAN REGARDING SHELL’S THREAT TO HAVE SHELL WHISTLEBLOWER DR JOHN HUONG IMPRISONED: SUNDAY 11 JULY 2004.
FAXED LETTER TO THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE DATO’ AZMEL BIN HAJI MAAMOR DSNS, PPT, HIGH COURT OF MALAYA JUDGE: 14 July 2004
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.”: 7 October 2004
Breaking news from AP Worldstream: Report: Helicopter carrying Shell employees crashes in sea, all 13 on board survive: The Super Puma EC225 helicopter, with two pilots and 11 Shell Malaysia employees aboard, went down Saturday : 19 June 2005: Read the article
News in from the Malaysia Star: Shell: Pilots acted heroically: Chadwick said comprehensive tests would be done to ensure the two copters were in good condition.: Monday 20 June 2005: Read the article
THE BORNEO POST: Former employee suing Shell: “Dr John Huong, an ex-Shell employee, is suing Shell in the Industrial Court here, alleging that he had been unfairly dismissed by the company.” Posted 23 June 2005
Forbidden Words of a Shell Whistleblower: Friday 9 Sept 2005
Censorship of Dr John Huong by Royal Dutch Shell: 14 September 2005
The Borneo Post: Shell vs Dr John Huong trial adjourned to Nov 15: “Dr Huong, an ex-Shell employee, is suing the company, alleging that he was unfairly dismissed.”: “Huong, a geologist by qualification, had worked with Shell for almost 30 years before his dismissal on March 28, 2003.” Posted 23 June 2005
Wakey Wakey: Posting by Dr John Huong on “Tell Shell”: 1 October 2005
Email from former Shell Malaysia employee group: Thursday 15 Dec 2005
399 REASONS WHY SHELL MALAYSIA MANAGEMENT SHOULD HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME: Sun 8 January 2006
DEFENCE DOCUMENT FILED BY DR HUONG: 25 JANUARY 2006
Dr Huong files broadside defence to Shell defamation action: 29 January 2006
Email to Jyoti Munsiff from a Shell Whistleblower, Dr John Huong: 2 February 2006
DR HUONG CONFIRMS ACCURACY OF DYNAMITE INDICTMENT OF SHELL: I note that Dr Huong has not taken issue with the accuracy of the content of his draft Affidavit. This is unsurprising since he was the author (but not the publisher): 7 February 2006
EMAIL TO SHELL MALAYSIA COUNTRY CHAIRMAN JON CHADWICK: Mon 13 Feb 2006 05:48 PM EST: 13 February 2006
NOTICE TO SHOW CAUSE: 9 MARCH 2006
Freedom of Expression and Human Rights in Malaysia: 17 March 2006
Screenshots (Malaysia): Wither Malaysian journalism?: 18 March 2006
SHELL ISSUES FURTHER HIGH COURT INJUNCTION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST DR JOHN HUONG: 20 April 2006
Email to Shell International General Counsel, Richard Wiseman: Wednesday 3 MAY 2006
Dr Huong protest continues at Shell Centre: Thursday 4 May 2006
File of Shell -v- Dr John Huong Court Paper: 21 May 2006
The first is a Summons in Chambers
The second an Affidavit by a Shell legal manager
John Donovan letter to T H Liew & Partners: 6 August 2006
Shell PLAINTIFFS’ SKELETAL SUBMISSIONS (CROSS-EXAMINATION): 13 October 2006
Shell: PLAINTIFFS’ SKELETAL SUBMISSIONS (INTERIM INJUNCTION) 13 October 2006
DrHuongPlaintiffsSkel.Interim13Oct06: 13 October 2006
Defendant’s Written Submissions (Interlocutory Injunction) 27 November 2006