Sarawak Chief Minister accused of abusing Bakun dam excess power for family deal with Rio Tinto Alca
(KUCHING, MALAYSIA) An explosive report by whistleblower website Sarawak Report accuses Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”) of massive insider deals over plans to build an aluminium smelter in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo.
According to the website, SALCO (Sarawak Aluminium Company Sdn Bhd), a company currently involved in Sarawak smelter negotiations with Rio Tinto Alcan, is secretly owned by Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), an 85% Taib family-controlled corporation. SALCO has been handed a licence by the Malaysian federal government to build an aluminium smelter in Similaju, which should be powered by excess electricity from the controversial Bakun dam. The recently completed 2400 MW hydropower dam has caused a power glut in Sarawak as local demand has never exceeded 1000 MW.
While SALCO pretends, on its official website to be a joint venture between Rio Tinto Alcan and Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), official records are showing that it is 100%-controlled by the Taib family’s business flagship CMS. The Australian High Commissioner in Malaysia, Miles Kupa, recently travelled to Sarawak to lobby for a deal between Rio Tinto Alcan and CMS despite fears that Rio Tinto Alcan might close down its current aluminium smelter in Tasmania and shift operations to Sarawak instead.
The Bruno Manser Fund asks the Malaysian anti-corruption watchdog to stall the smelter licence handed to SALCO as the company is a pure political outfit of the Taib family and has no experience whatsoever in producing aluminium. “This is massive corruption at the highest level of government and should lead to immediate political consequences and a criminal investigation by Malaysian prosecutors.”
Malaysian authorities have recently come under fire for their plans to build another twelve new dams in Sarawak which would displace thousands of indigenous people and cause an environmental disaster in the tropical rainforests of Borneo.
Link to Sarawak Report’s story on SALCO:
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