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For highlighting information about human rights violations suffered by 31 Burmese Migrant Workers who were working at Asahi Kosei(M) Sdn Bhd, in Charles Hector Blog, HR Defender, Charles Hector, has been sued for RM10 million by the said company.

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ALIRAN has up a fund so that concerned groups and persons can contribute to the legal cost and expenses incurred by Charles Hector, Human Rights Defender, in the legal suit initiated by Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn Bhd. A lot of financial support is needed and your immediate assistance is needed.

Payments can be made by bank transfer to:

Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara
Bank account number:

107 246 109 510

Malayan Banking Berhad, Green Lane branch, Penang, Malaysia.

(If you are outside Malaysia, please include the “SWIFT” code for our bank: MBBEMYKL)

Please also email us at to indicate that it is a donation to Hector’s Legal Defence Fund.

Donations may also be made by cheque or bank draft made payable to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara. Mail your cheque/bank draft to us at 103, Medan Penaga, 11600 Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia, indicating clearly that it is a donation to the Hector Legal Defence Fund. []

Monday, 25 April 2011

Charles Hector: Lack of Law Enforcement Main Cause of Workers’ Rights Violation

Charles Hector interview  with  Malaysian Digest 

by Haider Yutim       
Charles Hector is a Malaysian Human Rights advocate and activist. He recently highlighted the worker rights violations of 31 Myanmar migrant workers allegedly committed by Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn Bhd. As a result of his actions, Hector is now facing a lawsuit by Asahi Kosei. Malaysian Digest caught up with Hector recently to shed light on the current level of human rights violation in this country.


Malaysian Digest: How long have you been involved in human rights, and what were some of the activist movements have you been involved in?

.Charles Hector: Well, in University Malaya I was in the Student Union. After that, I elected to work for human rights and justice and started with the National Office for Human Development (NOHD), then Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM). After that I became a lawyer and was called to the Bar in 1996.

I have been involved in various human rights issues including campaigning for the release of the 106 detained in Operation Lalang. I was also involved in the development of Malaysia's first civil society Human Rights Charter as well as the Reformasi movement where I defended those who had been arrested. Other than that, I was a coordinator of the Malaysian Action Front (MAF) together with Fan Yew Teng and Annuar Tahir (ABIM). The MAF was involved in human rights and justice issues both in Malaysia and overseas. As a lawyer, I was also involved in Legal Aid and am also a former member of the Malaysian Bar Council.

I have been and continue to be concerned with human rights, worker rights, migrant rights, environmental issues, transparency and accountability issues, indigenous peoples’ rights, detention without trial, death in custody and also for the abolition of death penalty and torture.

MD: In advocating human rights, what do you believe would be an effective strategy?

CH: Human rights is a concern of all. Hence, the most important first step would be the creation of awareness about human rights. There is also a need to highlight human rights violations so that people have the chance to also choose to participate in the process of ending injustice and promoting human rights.

Greater support always helps injustices to end sooner – and it certainly also moves governments and other relevant authorities to act faster. Today, there are many options in this internet age including blogs, emails, Facebook, media statements, peaceful public protests, petitions and memorandums. Sadly, in Malaysia there is too much hindrance to freedom of speech, expression and peaceful protests that stands in the way of promoting and protecting human rights.

The government has used its many laws to curtail freedoms and rights, and now we see that even companies are using means like taking court actions against human rights defenders who highlight injustices and human rights violations. I too have recently been sued for RM10 million for highlighting injustices that were happening to some migrant workers working in a company.

What is your comment on Asahi Kosei filing a lawsuit against you?

I am sad that when information about human rights worker rights violation were brought to the notice of companies where the workers work at, the. response, rather than investigating and ensuring that worker rights are protected, this company has elected to go after the person who highlighted these violations through, amongst others the blog.

I believe that every person has a duty and responsibility to highlight information about human rights violations to members of the caring public who, when made aware, will act to ensure that justice prevails and violations end.

This duty and obligation of everyone, not just human rights activist or defenders, is clear from the United Nations Human Rights Defenders Declaration that states, "Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", and this includes the right to freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights violations.

This company is suing me for defamation, and they claim that the workers concerned are not their workers as they are workers supplied by an 'outsourcing' agent.

I am of the opinion that a company must be responsible for all workers that work at the company’s factory. In fact, in Malaysian law, a supplier of workers is not the employer. The employer must be the company where the workers work under its control and supervision, using the tools of the said company, and producing the products of the said company.

Anyway, this matter is now before the court, and I would prefer not to comment specifically on the said case.

What is your plan in ensuring that the 31 Burmese workers’ rights are defended?

The said workers have already lodged complaints at the SUHAKAM (Malaysian Human Rights Commission) and the Labor Department, and I believe that they are in the midst of investigating and will do the needful to ensure that justice will be served to the workers.

The only concern with migrant workers is that some employers/agents, possibly to avoid justice, will get their work permits/visas cancelled making them undocumented or even try to send them back to their country of origin. When this happens, that normally will mean that all complaints and proceedings at the Labor Department, SUHAKAM and even the courts will suddenly come to a standstill and justice will not be obtained by the workers.

Now, we have the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2010 and, as such, these migrant workers should not be terminated or sent back until all investigations and proceedings at SUHAKAM, Labor Department and forums are completed. But we shall see what happens. About 26 of the workers have been taken back to work at Asahi Kosei but five were not, and I am most worried about this five.

In this particular case, I can tell you that my lawyers have filed an application to add these 31 workers as parties, and we also hope that this will prevent them being sent back to Myanmar. These workers are certainly important witnesses in my case – as all the information that I did publish came from these workers. That application will be heard by the court on May 13.

Why have there always been problems with outsourcing agents where foreign workers end up being victims?

Well, the government introduced this 'outsourcing' concept with regards to migrant workers in 2005. But I do not believe that the intention of the government was ever to make them employers – just suppliers of workers, who then may assist employers by looking after certain responsibilities like housing and transportation of migrant workers. In fact, in May 2010, our Deputy Prime Minister was reported saying, "... employers are the people who should be responsible for their foreign workers. Outsourcing companies are only responsible for bringing them in. After that, employers must assume full responsibility..."

But sadly what has been practiced by these 'outsourcing' agents and some employers is an attempt to avoid employment relationships, and the obligations that come with it that will ensure worker rights and benefits as guaranteed by Malaysian law. A lack of enforcement contributed to this problem, and some employers have wrongly treated workers supplied by outsourcing agents as not their workers, and this has resulted in discrimination in terms of wages and other benefits.

It started with foreign workers but today it also involves local workers. Some companies may also no more hire workers directly but depend on workers supplied by these 'outsourcing' agents.

Wages are different as many companies just pay the salary to these agents who then deduct their percentage/commission and pay the workers. This practice also weakens trade unions at the workplace, as their bargaining power is much reduced. Workers negotiate better rights and benefits through collective agreements with their employer. But then these 'outsourced' workers considered by employers as not their workers are prevented from being part of trade unions and/or benefiting from these collective agreements.

Employers also do not provide these 'outsourced' workers legally guaranteed rights like paid annual leave, paid medical/hospitalization leave and maternity leave as they take the position that those rights must be claimed from the 'outsourcing' agents directly.

It must be pointed out that Malaysian Federal Constitution guarantees equality, and our Employment Act 1955 does not permit such employment relationship between what really are suppliers of workers and these 'outsourced' workers. The government tried to make suppliers of workers as employers by a Bill tabled in July 2010, which was then withdrawn after much protest.

The Malaysian government is aware but, sadly, it lacks the political will to ensure justice for all workers, not just foreign workers.

How do you view the overall rights of the migrants working in Malaysia? Do you feel that they are being treated fairly?

.The law protects all workers, including foreign workers, but unfortunately the problem sometimes is the lack of enforcement or the usage of exceptions in the law to violate rights. For example, employers for foreign workers were required to pay the government levy for every foreign worker, but then the Director General of Labor allowed some employers to recover this levy by deducting workers’ wages. Thankfully this practice was stopped in April 2010.

The other problem that affects all workers is that the Employment Act 1955 does not make it an offence for employers to discriminate against and/or terminate workers when they do exercise their rights and complain to the Labor Department, SUHAKAM or police. Many employers just terminate them when they (workers) complain. For migrant workers it is worse because their work visa/pass that allows them to remain legally in Malaysia also gets cancelled and they cannot remain in the country to pursue their claims for justice.

Passports are also wrongly held by employers/agents and when the police or RELA (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia) apprehend them (foreign workers) and they cannot show the original documents, they get arrested and detained until the authorities can verify the documents.

Do you believe you have a good chance in achieving your goal of restoring human rights in this country?

We have human rights in Malaysia but not enough. We, the people, all need to continue to struggle for human rights to be respected and recognized fully and this is an uphill struggle which we have to continue to fight for. If the current government does not respect our rights, then maybe we must vote for a new government. The good thing today is that more and more people have joined in this struggle for human rights, and we hope for a better Malaysia where rights and justice are respected and recognized.

How do you view the rate of power abuse among the police in this country?

There are serious problems with the police. There is a need for mechanisms to check on these abuses and one such mechanism would be the. IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission). Police should also become more independent and not allow themselves to be used or seen to be used by certain political masters, the rich and the powerful. Police should not allow themselves to be used by some employers/agents in what really is a labor dispute between workers and employers, which should rightly be dealt with by the Human Resource Ministry. There have been too many complaints of police personnel coming and threatening and even arresting workers at the behest of errant employers. This must stop.

Do you feel that the people here are able to exercise their rights as citizens when stopped by the police?

No. In Malaysia, the police just have too much power and it is absurd that, for the exercise of rights and freedoms, we need to get permission from the police. There should be no requirement for such permissions. Now, even to have a public forum or talk, we need to get police permissions and this is absurd.

Can you tell us in a simple way of how a person can avoid from being harassed by the police?

In Malaysia, if you stand up for rights and freedoms, the police can come and harass you. What Malaysian government wants is for every person to quietly work, come back home and rest and go back to work again without questioning and/or demanding rights and freedoms.
But, Malaysians and all persons must not accept this any longer, and must overcome all fears and stand up for greater human rights and justice in Malaysia. We must bravely protest actions of governments, employers and others that try to curb freedoms and rights. Nothing comes easy and we have to fight, despite the risks, for a better Malaysia for us and our next generation.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

เขียนจดหมายถึงฮิตาชิ ให้ถอนฟ้องคดีที่ฟ้องนักปกป้องสิทธิมนุษยชน Take action today and write to Hitachi/Denunciato l'attivista Charles Hector/Hitachi väistelee vastuutaan Malesiassa

Drawing by Liz Hilton

Japanese electronics company Hitachi is failing to uphold human rights throughout its supply chain   - while migrant workers are mistreated and Malaysian human rights defenders exposing this behavior are facing aggressive legal action, Hitachi keeps refusing to use the means at its disposal to make its supplier Asahi Kosei drop the legal case and respect workers' rights.

Take action today and write to Hitachi  to drop the case !

บริษัท ฮิตาชิอิเล็กทรอนิคส์ของญี่ปุ่นล้มเหลวที่จะส่งเสริมสิทธิมนุษยชนในการจ้างงานตลอดห่วงโซ่การผลิตสินค้าของตน – ในขณะที่แรงงานข้ามชาติและนักปกป้องสิทธิมนุษยชนชาวมาเลเซียได้เปิดเผยพฤติกรรมการละเมิดสิทธิคนงาน บริษัทอาซาฮี  โกเซ ซึ่งผลิตสินค้าให้ฮิตาชิกลับใช้วิธีการการดำเนินการตามกฎหมายอย่างก้าวร้าวในการทำลายนักปกป้องสิทธิมนุษยชน    ฮิตาชิซึ่งเป็นลูกค้าของอาซาฮี โกเซ ปฏิเสธไม่ยอมใช้วิธีการใดๆ เพื่อให้ อาซาฮี โกเซ  เคารพสิทธิแรงงาน กฎหมายและสิทธิของนักปกป้องสิทธิมนุษยชน จนถึงวันนี้คดีหมื่นประมาทซึ่งบริษัทเรียกค่าเสียหายหนึ่งร้อยล้านบาทจากทนายที่ช่วยคนงาน ยังอยู่ในกระบวนการศาลและบริษัทไม่ยอมถอนฟ้อง

ลงมือปฏิบัติการในวันนี้และเขียนถึง บริษัท ฮิตาชิเพื่อให้ถอนฟ้อง ส่งจดหมายได้ที่

Denunciato l'attivista Charles Hector

6 aprile 2011 - Sei settimane fa il nostro amico Charles Hector, difensore dei diritti umani, attivista, avvocato e blogger in Malesia, è stato citato in giudizio per diffamazione dall’impresa di elettronica di proprietà giapponese Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn Bhd, dopo aver postato un articolo sul blog  in relazione alla minaccia di deportazione di 31 lavoratori migranti dipendenti della Asahi Kosei.

Firma la petizione!

I lavoratori birmani avevano protestato contro la deduzioni illegali dai loro salari e il mancato pagamento dei congedi per malattia. Su richiesta della società, il giudice ha emesso un’ingiunzione per impedire Charles Hector di diffondere pubblicamente informazioni attraverso il suo blog o Twitter sulla situazione dei 31 lavoratori migranti. Denunciare gli attivisti che rendono pubblici i casi di violazione dei diritti umani è inaccettabile: vi chiediamo di fermarvi un istante e firmare la petizione firmare un on-line per:
- invitare Asahi Kosei a ritirare immediatamente e senza condizioni l'azione legale contro Charles Hector; invitare i suoi clienti a fare pressione sul fornitore Asahi Kosei nella stessa direzione;
- invitare Asahi Kosei e tutti, specialmente, i governi, a rispettare diritti, doveri e obblighi universalmente riconosciuti ad ogni persona e / o organizzazione di diffondere pubblicamente informazioni su torti, violazioni dei diritti umani e ingiustizie, come evidenziato nella Dichiarazione delle Nazioni Unite sui difensori dei diritti umani.
- invitare Asahi Kosei, e il governo del Giappone e della Malesia ad assicurare che sia fatta giustizia per tutti i lavoratori interessati, e per garantire che i loro diritti siano riconosciuti e rispettati

Hitachi väistelee vastuutaan Malesiassa

Kaksi kuukautta sitten Malesiassa japanilainen elektroniikkayhtiö Asahi Kosei haastoi ihmisoikeusaktivistin, lakimiehen ja bloggaajan Charles Hectorin oikeuteen kunnianloukkauksesta, koska hän oli kirjoittanut blogissaan 31 siirtotyöläisen mahdollisesta karkotuksesta. Nämä burmalaiset työntekijät olivat vastustaneet palkoista otettuja laittomia vähennyksiä ja palkallisten sairauslomien puuttumista. Yhtiön pyynnöstä tuomioistuin kielsi Charles Hectoria levittämästä julkisesti tietoa bloginsa tai Twitterin kautta siirtotyöläisten tilanteesta. Tällaista ihmisoikeusaktivistien vaientamista ei voida hyväksyä. Kuitenkin Asahi Koseilta tilaavat merkkiyhtiöt, kuten Hitachi, välttelevät vastuutaan.
8.helmikuuta 2011 Charles Hector sai tietää siirtotyöläisten tapauksesta. Näiden 31 burmalaisen työntekijän mukaan – kun he olivat valittaneet mm. palkkojen laittomista vähennyksistä – heitä uhkailtiin, heidän passinsa ja omaisuutta takavarikoitiin ja asuntolan sähköt katkaistiin. Charles Hector kysyi ensin yhtiöltä lisätietoja, mutta kun vastausta sähköpostiin ei kuulunut, hän julkaisi blogissaan sen, mitä työntekijät olivat kertoneet.
Viikkoa myöhemmin hän sai yhtiöltä kirjeen, missä häntä uhattiin oikeustoimilla tai haasteen välttämiseksi maksamaan yli kahden miljoonan euron korvauksen, poistamaan blogijulkaisut ja pyytämään julkisesti anteeksi. Yhä useammat järjestöt ja ammattiliitot huomasivat tapauksen ja julkaisivat yhteisen lausunnon. Jo samana päivänä yhtiö oli ottanut yhteyttä tuomioistuimeen ja viikon kuluttua Hector sai oikeuden määräyksen poistaa blogikirjoitukset ja lopettamaan aiheesta puhumisen.

Elektroniikkateollisuuden merkkiyhtiöille – mm. Hitachille – osia valmistavan Asahi Kosein hankkima oikeuden määräys loukkaa törkeästi sananvapautta ja YK:n julistusta ihmisoikeuksien puolustajista. Asahi Kosei ja siltä tilaavat yhtiöt kuitenkin edelleen kieltäytyvät keskustelemasta siirtotyöläisten asiaa ajavien ryhmien kanssa, eikä työntekijöiden kohtelu ole parantunut.

 Japanilainen elektroniikkayhtiö Hitachi onkin epäonnistumassa ihmisoikeuksien ylläpitämisessä tuotantoketjussaan. Siirtotyöläisiä kohdellaan kaltoin ja ongelmat paljastaneita Malesialaisia ihmisoikeuksien puolustajia vastaan käydään oikeustoimia. Hitachilla olisi vaikutusvaltaa saada alihankkijansa Asahi Kosei luopumaan syytteistä ja saada se kunnioittamaan ihmisoikeuksia, mutta Hitachi on lyönyt laimin vastuunsa. Hitachi on myös elektroniikkateollisuuden vastuullisuutta ajavan EICC:n (Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition) jäsen, mutta on nyt epäonnistumassa EICC:n vastuullisuusohjeiston noudattamisessa.

Allekirjoita vetoomus Hitachille, että se huolehtisi ihmisoikeuksista koko tuotantoketjussaan ja käyttäisi vaikutusvaltaansa Asahi Kosei -yhtiöön myös Charles Hectoria vastaan nostetuista syytteistä luopumiseksi.

 Lisätietoja tapauksesta voit lukea täältä.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Upcoming Hearing and Trial Dates

drawing  by Liz Hilton

Upcoming Hearing and Trial Dates

We would like to inform you that the next hearing date of this legal suited by Asahi Kosei against Charles Hector has been fixed for hearing on 13/5/2011 and for full trial on 28/6/2011 and 29/6/2011

We call on member  of  foreign diplomats , trade unions ,civil society , media and justice loving people  to continue to monitor and observe the hearings and trial to ensure that  Charles Hector will fair and just trial before an open, competent and impartial tribunal. 

We thank you for your attention and the commitment in this case against a Human rights Defender for highlighting injustices and human rights violations. For more information and update please contact us.

 In solidarity,

 In Defence of Charles Hector’s Campaign Team 

* On 13/4/2011, this matter was fixed for case management, and the relevant dates are as follows:-
Case Management for Enclosure 15 & 20 - 5.5.2011
Hearing of Enclosure 15 & 20 - 13.5.2011

Case Management for Full Trial - 20.6.2011
Full Trial - 28.6.2011 & 29.6.2011

·         Enclosure 15 and 20 are applications by Charles Hector (1) to add the said 31 workers as parties to the suit, and (2) the application to amend the Defence and Counter-Claim.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Dakwa langgar hak asasi: Syarikat Jepun saman fitnah peguam, aktivis (Utusan Malaysia, 12/4/2011)

Dakwa langgar hak asasi: Syarikat Jepun saman fitnah peguam, aktivis

SHAH ALAM 11 April - Seorang aktivis hak asasi manusia disaman oleh syarikat elektronik Jepun yang beroperasi dekat sini atas tuduhan memfitnah syarikat tersebut di dalam laman blog lelaki itu berkaitan dakwaan syarikat berkenaan melanggar hak asasi 31 pekerja Myanmar.

Syarikat Asahi Kosei Sdn. Bhd. selaku plaintif memfailkan saman tersebut terhadap Charles Hector yang juga seorang peguam, pada 14 Februari lalu di Mahkamah Tinggi di sini.

Hector selaku defendan hari ini bagaimanapun gagal dalam usahanya untuk mengetepikan injunksi ex-parte (sebelah pihak) yang diperoleh oleh plaintif pada 17 Februari lalu.

Peguam Francis Pereira yang mewakili Hector ketika ditemui pemberita di luar mahkamah berkata, Hakim Lim Yee Lan menolak permohonan Hector itu dalam prosiding di kamar hakim tersebut di sini.

Plaintif mengemukakan tuntutan ganti rugi RM10 juta dan permohonan maaf secara terbuka daripada Hector selain peguam itu diarahkan memadam maklumat dalam blognya berkaitan kes pekerja Myanmar yang mengaitkan syarikat itu.

Plaintif yang telah 15 tahun menjalankan perniagaan di negara ini menyatakan, pihaknya tidak bertanggungjawab di atas apa yang berlaku kepada pekerja-pekerja atas alasan semua pekerja itu dibekal dan diuruskan oleh agensi pekerjaan.

Plaintif mendakwa terpaksa menanggung kerugian akibat paparan di blog milik defendan yang telah menggugat reputasi dan imej perniagaan plaintif.

Plaintif turut memohon satu perintah injunksi ex-parte (sebelah pihak) terhadap Hector dengan memerintahkan defendan memadam semua tulisan di blog berkaitan pekerja Myanmar serta menghentikan sebarang komunikasi di laman-laman sosial berkenaan isu itu.

Hector kemudian memohon agar mahkamah mengetepikan perintah injunksi itu atas alasan pihak plaintif sepatutnya mengadakan dialog dengan pekerja-pekerja tersebut dan bukannya bertindak memfailkan saman terhadapnya. - Utusan Malaysia, 12/4/2011, Dakwa langgar hak asasi: Syarikat Jepun saman fitnah peguam, aktivis

Firm gets injunction against activist (New Straits Times, 11/4/2011)

SHAH ALAM: Japanese multinational corporation Asahi Kosei Sdn Bhd yesterday obtained an interim injunction from the High Court here restraining human rights activist Charles Hector Fernandez from highlighting the plight of its migrant workers from Myanmar in his blog posts. 

Judge Datuk Lim Yee Lan granted the injunction in chambers pending the hearing of a defamation suit filed by Asahi Kosei demanding a compensation of RM10 million from Fernandez, who is also a lawyer.

Lim also dismissed Fernandez's application to set aside the ex-parte injunction granted on Asahi Kosei on Feb 17.

The company was represented by counsel John Fam, Freeda Santhiago and Tan Tai Hwa. Counsel Francis Pereira and Sharmini Thiruchelvam appeared for Hector.

Pereira told reporters that the court made the decision on the grounds that bloggers could not claim the same defences claimed by the media.

On Feb 14, Asahi Kosei sued Fernandez for allegedly defaming the company in his blog at

It claimed that Fernandez had maliciously published the six entries between Feb 8 and 13 which contained false statements, resulting in the company's clients demanding an explanation over the blog entries. -- Bernama - New Straits Times, 11/4/2011,Firm gets injunction against activist

Charles Hector : Human Rights Defender’s Case Update (11/4/2011)

Lawyer Francis Pereira briefing the media on decision of injunction against Charles Hector 

Malaysian Bar (Holding a Watching Brief) was represented by Daniel Lo (in the middle)

Charles Hector‘s lawyer R, Shanmugam( first on the left) and Taneswaran, pupil in Chambers  ( first on the right)

Asahi Kosei Sdn Bhd –V- Charles Hector Fernandez(Case No: 22 NCVC – 173 – 2011) came up before Judge Lim Yee Lan at the Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia NCVC Court at the Shah Alam Court Complex at about 10 am  for a decision of 2 applications, whereby submissions had all been done on 30/3/2011. 

The said 2 applications, in brief, are:-

a)            The Asahi Kosei’s application for an interlocutory (temporary) injunction, which amongst others, was for in brief, is for an injunction same as the one they applied for “an injunction that Charles Hector be it by himself or his servants or agents or through whatever other means be prevented from posting or republishing or issuing or touching on any statement about the subject matter of Myanmmar workers associated with the Asahi Kosei  through the blog or through any other form of communication whatsoever until the final settlement of this suit including appeals concerning this suit.”

Decision (in brief): The court allowed this application and granted a much narrow order, i.e. the same as the earlier ‘holding over order’, confining to just the 31 Burmese Migrant Workers [no more all Burmese migrant workers], and restricting Charles Hector from communicating through the blog and twitter until the end of the trial, and that cost be cost in the cause.(which means that whoever loses the case at the end after trial pays the cost)

(b)       The hearing of Charles Hector’s application to set aside the said ex-parte order of 17/2/2011.

            Decision (in brief): The court dismissed this application and ordered that cost be cost in the cause. With regard to the ex-parte order dated 17/2/2011, the court also varied the order as to cost to cost in the cause.

(c)        Other matters: The court also vacated the previously fixed hearing dates, i.e. 19-21 April, and will be fixing new trial dates later.

In court today, the lawyers were:-
Charles Hector  was represented by lawyers Francis Pereira and R, Shanmugam (with Taneswaran, pupil in Chambers)
Asahi Kosei Sdn Bhd was represented by lawyer John Fam, Freeda Santhiago and Tan Tai Hwa
Malaysian Bar (Holding a Watching Brief) was represented by Daniel Lo

* Representatives from civil society, human rights groups and the Burmese migrant community were also present in court as a show of support and solidarity. Media was also present today in greater numbers. Adrienn Sallai (Third Secretary Political Affairs of the European Union Delegation to Malaysia) and another from the EU, and Heikki Vandermander, the Deputy Head of Mission from the Royal Embassy of Beligium was also present today. The judge, on being moved by Asahi Kosei’s lawyer, decided to clear the court, before decision was given. We appreciate your continued support and show of solidarity. Thank you also for the many well wishes we received from friends and colleagues in the struggle for human rights and justice.

Siew Hwa, Southeast Asia coordinator for the Asia Floor Wage Alliance-AFWA together with Angeline Loh ,an Aliran exco member

Important Past Dates

14/2/2011 –  Charles Hector receives company’s lawyers letter of demand.
14/2/2011 – Company filed court action, and applies for an ex-parte interlocutory injunction
17/2/2011 – Hearing of application & Court grants ex-parte order
21/2/2011 – Charles Hector receives order & court documents (becomes aware for the first time that Company had filed suit and applied for an order)
4/3/2011 – 1st hearing date of Company’s inter-parte application for an interlocutory injunction.
1st hearing date for Charles Hector’s application to set aside ex-parte order of 17/2/2011
21/3/2011 – 2nd hearing date for both applications
30/3/2011 – 3rd hearing date for both applications
7/4/2011 – 4th date – fixed for decision of the 2 applications.
11/4/2011 – Decision for 2 applications given

Next date: 13/4/2011(Wednesday) – being a date fixed before the registrar with regard Charles Hector’s 2 applications (1) to join all 31 migrant workers from Burma as parties in this action, and (2) to amend the Defence and Counter Claim. This will not be a hearing, just for case management which may include fixing hearing/trial dates.

Asahi Kosei obtains Interim Injuction Against Human Rights Activist (Bernama)

Asahi Kosei Peroleh Injunksi Interim Terhadap Aktivis Hak Asasi Manusia 

SHAH ALAM, 11 April (Bernama) -- Sebuah perbadanan multinasional Jepun, Asahi Kosei Sdn Bhd hari ini memperoleh injunksi interim daripada Mahkamah Tinggi di sini yang menghalang seorang aktivis hak asasi manusia, Charles Hector Fernandez daripada menyiarkan nasib pekerja pendatang Myanmar dalam blognya.

Hakim Datuk Lim Yee Lan mengeluarkan injunksi itu dalam kamar sementara menunggu perbicaraan saman fitnah yang difailkan oleh Asahi Kosei yang meminta pampasan RM10 juta terhadap Hector, seorang peguam.

Lim juga menolak permohonan Hector untuk mengetepikan injunksi ex-parte yang dikeluarkan kepada Asahi Kosei pada 17 Feb.

Perbadanan itu yang diwakili oleh John Fam, Freeda Santhiago dan Tan Tai Hwa sementara peguam Francis Pereira dan Sharmini Thiruchelvam bagi Hector.

Pereira memberitahu pemberita bahawa mahkamah itu membuat keputusan tersebut atas alasan bahawa penulis blog berkenaan tidak boleh menuntut pembelaan yang sama yang boleh dituntut oleh media. Mahkamah itu merasakan bahawa kes tersebut yang kita kemukakan adalah berbeza kerana ia hanya untuk media dan bukan penulis blog.

"Selain itu, kerana ada banyak perkara lain untuk diselesaikan, mahkamah telah mengosongkan tarikh perbicaraan 19, 20 dan 21 April. Kita buat permohonan untuk pindaan pembelaan kita dan mohon tuntutan balas dan satu permohonan untuk memasukkan semua 31 pekerja berkaitan sebagai pihak dalam proseding," kata beliau.

Pada 14 Feb lepas, Asahi Kosei selaku plaintif memfailkan saman terhadap Hector bagi menuntut ganti rugi berjumlah RM10 juta kerana didakwa mengeluarkan entri berunsur fitnah berhubung isu pekerja-pekerja Myanmar yang bekerja di kilang milik syarikat pelaburan asing dari Jepun itu dalam blog miliknya yang beralamat di

Dalam penyataan tuntutannya, Asahi Kosei berkata ia telah berdagang lebih daripada 15 tahun dalam industri pengeluaran bagi komponen video, hard disk drive komputer dan komponen untuk automotif bagi pasaran tempatan dan luar negera serta mempunyai pelanggan seperti Hitachi Otomotive Group, Denso Group, Toyota Group, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Group dan Calsonic Group.

Syarikat itu berkata ia mempunyai modal saham yang dibenarkan sebanyak RM50 juta yang dibahagikan kepada 50 juta saham biasa bernilai RM1 setiap satu di mana modal saham yang diterbitkan yang telah dibayar secara penuh adalah sebanyak RM50 juta. Asahi Kosei seterusnya mendakwa Hector dengan perasaan dengki atau secara cuai telah memaparkan sebanyak enam entri di blog tersebut antara 8 Feb dan 13 Feb lepas yang mempunyai kenyataan-kenyataan palsu.

Berikutan entri-entri tersebut, plaintif mendakwa ia telah berhadapan dengan banyak pertanyaan daripada pelanggan-pelanggannya yang mendesak syarikat itu memberi penjelasan dan turut mengalami kerugian teruk.

Asahi Kosei mendakwa entri-entri itu juga mempunyai maksud bahawa syarikat berkenaan telah menipu dan tidak berperikemanusiaan serta bersikap kejam terhadap pekerja-pekerja.

Syarikat itu turut mendakwa walaupun pihaknya membuat tuntutan melalui surat tuntutan bertarikh 11 Feb lepas supaya defendan menarik balik entri-entri tersebut dan memohon maaf tetapi defendan gagal membuat sebarang tawaran atau memohon maaf secara ikhlas.

Sehubungan itu, Asahi Kosei memohon satu injunksi untuk menghalang Hector daripada menyiarkan atau memaparkan semula kenyataan mengenai pekerja-pekerja Myanmar yang berkaitan dengan syarikat itu melalui blognya atau dengan apa-apa cara komunikasi yang lain.

Plaintif juga menuntut ganti rugi teruk dan teladan berjumlah RM10 juta, faedah selaras dengan Akta Undang-Undang Sivil 1956, kos guaman dan relif-relif lain yang difikirkan sesuai oleh mahkamah.

-- BERNAMA, 11/4/2011, Asahi Kosei Peroleh Injunksi Interim Terhadap Aktivis Hak Asasi Manusia