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”: (ShellNews.net)
(Webmasters note: Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd is a UK company)
Posted 26 Sept 04
MIRI, Sept 23 (Bernama) -- 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.
Judicial Commissioner, Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, last Monday ruled in favour of the ex-employees, named Project Team A, who filed their suit on Nov 29, 2002 through their counsel, Eric Khoo and Gabriel Kok.
The ex-employees sued SSB, SSPC, SSSRBF and SSSPF for their principal claim estimated at RM50 million in respect of deductions made by SSB and SSPC from their SSSRBF and SSSPF, the statutory company contributions of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and interest, including dividends.
Abdul Aziz ordered the defendants to make immediate full restitution of the sum deducted plus interest of eight percent a year back-dated to the date of deduction until payment.
The total sum to be paid to the plaintiffs is estimated to be RM100 million.
Counsel for Shell applied for a stay of execution pending appeal.
Counsel for plaintiffs, Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, requested for grounds of the application for stay, citing that a majority of the plaintiffs are well over the age of 60 and in weak and declining health.
The Court ordered both parties to submit their affidavits setting out the respective grounds for a decision to be made within the earliest possible time.
Abdul Aziz, in his two-hour reading of the essential parts of his judgement, pointed out that the defendants breached Sections 47(1) and (2) oF the EPF Act 1991.
The defendants argument that the SSSRBF is an additional benefit or "top-up" to the employees' EPF could not be accepted, he said.
If it was a "top-up", the employees should be enjoying a higher sum of benefit for their retirement but some employees received zero or negative benefit, he said.
The suit was considered the first in the legal history of the country involving the largest number of ex-employees suing their former employers and involving such a big claim.
SPEECH BY MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT MINISTER TO SHELL EMPLOYEES OCTOBER 2000
UGAPAN YB DATUK DR FONG CHAN ONN, MENTERI SUMBER MANUSIA, MALAYSIA
SEMPENA MAJLIS ANUGERAH SIJIL ISO 9001
KEPADA SARAWAK SHELL BERHAD/SABAH SHELL PETROLEUM CO. LTD DI BANGUNAN SHELL, KUALA LUMPUR PADA
30 OKTOBER 2000
Selamat pagi dan selamat sejahtera.
It gives me great pleasure to be here today to witness the presentation of the ISO 9001 certificate from SIRIM to Sarawak Shell/Sabah Shell Petroleum Company for the provision of Human Resources Products and Services in support of Shell Malaysia Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas activities.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the management and staff of Sarawak Shell/Sabah Shell for this notable achievement. It is notable because you are the first company in Malaysia to receive the ISO 9001 certification by SIRIM for the full range of human resource products and services. In doing so you have added yet another first onto your list of pioneering achievements - in addition to the OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) certification achievements.
The ISO 9001 certification of your human resources organisation is a clear demonstration of the commitment by Sarawak Shell/Sabah Shell to implement a systematic Human Resources Quality Management System. This will continuously improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of your human resource processes and enablers. This self-regulated compliance is exemplary and I sincerely hope that the achievement of Sarawak Shell/Sabah Shell will provide the necessary impetus for all others to emulate so as to upgrade the overall standard and quality of human resource management in this country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
People are our most important assets. We are a competency or knowledge based organisation. Our people are our key differentiator. These are statements we hear more and more in today’s dynamic business environment as companies compete to attract and retain top talents. Yet, unfortunately for the many people that work for these companies, the organisational reality is quite the opposite! People do not necessarily feel that they are indeed being treated as the most important asset nor do they feel that their knowledge and competency is fully understood and used. Where action speaks louder than words, this ISO 9001 achievement is solid testimony of the importance that Shell places on the development of its human potential as a key means toward meeting its business objectives. For this, I would again like to extend my sincere congratulations to the management and staff of Shell.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As Malaysia enters the new millennium and faces the many challenges that come with it, I have no doubt that we will continue to see human resource development as being a key agenda for the government. The Ministry of Human Resources will continue to drive and champion the many initiatives that will ensure our realisation of Vision 2020 and the successful shift from a production based economy to a knowledge based or K-economy. Correspondingly, the Ministry is always looking to the private sector to play an equally active role as good corporate citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me in the next few minutes to share with you my views on the importance of human resource development in facilitating the shift to a K-economy. This successful shift from the old to a new economy is a crucial springboard towards realising Vision 2020. Given the pivotal role of knowledge and information in the new economy, the profound impact of this on our human resources is undeniable. Thus, Malaysia’s ability to produce, grow and nurture an efficient, effective and competent work force is a critical success factor for the shift to a K-economy. Given this compelling case for action, the commitment towards people development must take place on a more aggressive pace and with a greater degree of innovation. Let me quote you an example, the concept of Smart Partnership between the private sector and institutions of higher learning should and can be further exploited. This will ensure that the human resources of the future will be well equipped with the relevant theoretical and practical experiences to meet the industries and country’s demand. I have also seen numerous examples where the advancement in Information Technology has been used as a key enabler in implementing e-learning. Not only is this tool powerful but more often than not, it is also fun!
I was told that in the case of Sarawak Shell/Sabah Shell, the management has made a conscious strategic decision to include people development as one of the company’s key differentiators. This is very laudable and extremely timely as companies brace for the economic upturn and seek to attract and retain their human resources.
Whilst the government and private sector can be fully committed to this call, I would also like to caution us on the need to manage and influence the mindset of our people. Their willingness, commitment and aptitude to learn and adapt to change are equally important in our transformation to the K-economy. Contrary to the saying, you can take the horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink, my challenge to all of us in managing the mindset change is to not only take the horse to the water but make it drink WILLINGLY! This poses a radically new challenge for human resources management and will require new approaches to pay, motivation, recruitment and learning. Such a challenge will no doubt push and provide the opportunity for the human resources professionals to make a difference in this country.
In the light of globalisation and trade liberalisation, Malaysia must ensure that she remains competitive and attractive to foreign investors. In this regard, I am pleased to note that there is now a distinctive trend within the various industries to adopt a remuneration scheme that is based on productivity and performance. Growth in wages must commensurate with productivity increases. The combination of a knowledge based work force and productivity based remuneration scheme against a backdrop of a strong government and political stability will undeniably make Malaysia a formidable business partner in the 21st Century.
I wish to stress here that, the continuous ability of the government and business leaders to co-operate, share and work together as good corporate citizens is highly crucial - be it with the trade unions, government agencies or other organisations and corporate bodies. You should make this responsibility part and parcel of your organisational business objectives. My Ministry will continue to place greater emphasis in maintaining industrial harmony and preserving the good government-employer-employee relationship in this country.
In closing, I would again like to congratulate Sarawak Shell/Sabah Shell for their ISO 9001 certification achievement and also my appreciation to Shell Malaysia for their willingness to share with us today their various human resources’ initiatives, tools, processes and best practices via their HR Excellence Exhibition.