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Ex-Caltex operators planning to sue ministry

 | September 14, 2017

They claim they suffered losses after bearing the cost of implementation of the self service system although the government circular said operators don't have to pay anything.

(From left) Former Caltex operators Fauziah Ahmad Fadzil and Fadzilah Abdul Hamid, lawyer Hishamuddin Hashim and special unit action director of the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) Yusuf Azmi at the press conference.

(From left) Former Caltex operators Fauziah Ahmad Fadzil and Fadzilah Abdul Hamid, lawyer Hishamuddin Hashim and special unit action director of the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) Yusuf Azmi at the press conference.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two former Caltex petrol station operators are planning to sue the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry (KPDNKK) for claims the ministry did not defend its 2000 circular on implementation of self service at petrol stations across Malaysia.

Former operators Fadzilah Abd Hamid and his wife, Fauziah Ahmad Fadzil, have alleged that this circular had caused their contracts to be terminated by Chevron Malaysia Limited, which owned Caltex stations here.

“We adhered to the April 11, 2000 circular which said we operators do not need to bear any cost for the implementation of the self service system and the oil company is the one which should fork out the money for the system,” he told reporters at a press conference today.

He added Caltex, as it was known then, had ordered them to pay the cost for the system’s implementation, going against the circular’s order.

“This was unfair to us. The ministry had said we do not need to pay anything but Caltex, on the other hand, asked for payment,” he said, claiming the ministry kept silent despite knowing Chevron had imposed the payment on them.

Fadzilah, who is also the vice-president of the Caltex petrol dealers association, said the operators had no choice back then but to seek a court injunction which they obtained.

Fifteen operators, including Fadzilah’s wife, later sued Chevron for demanding payment for the self-service system from the operators.

Their suit was initially allowed by the High Court in December 2013 but the Federal Court had in November last year allowed Chevron’s appeal and ordered the operators to pay RM360,000 to the oil company for the system.

Fadzilah said after they paid Chevron the money, as ordered by the Federal Court, the company terminated their contracts as “revenge” for filing the suit.

It was reported that Fauziah and 14 fellow operators had their contracts terminated on May 15, without valid reasons and were told to surrender their stations in a month’s time.

Chevron had said the contracts were revoked for business reasons.

The operators have said they were also mulling legal action against Chevron for alleged wrongful termination.

On July 28, they had handed a memorandum to Chevron, asking for a meeting over the termination but this request was turned down when the oil company allegedly imposed conditions that the contract termination and compensation should not be discussed.

This irked Fadzilah and he claimed the ministry is not helping with the dealers’ welfare.

“The petrol stations are our source of income. If the ministry cannot help, then it should have just said that earlier.”

He added that a meeting held by the operators with the ministry and Chevron had not brought any positive outcome. He did not specify when this meeting was held.

Fadzilah has appointed lawyer Hishamuddin Hashim to take his case against the government and to seek damages.

“The ministry issued a circular and the oil company did not want to follow. This created confusion among the operators and Chevron,” Hishamuddin said.

He said the Federal Court decision that ruled in favour of Chevron may set a dangerous precedent for government circulars.

“They (government) should file a review on the decision. The question of law that was argued in the appeal was whether the government’s administrative decision has any effect and whether it could be imposed in contract agreements,” he said.

He also said there had been no full written judgment from the apex court on the dealers’ case until now.

Axed Caltex station operators turned away from HQ


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