Hydro Tasmania admits compliance deficits in Malaysian dam constructions
Andrew Pattle at Murum dam site
(KUCHING, MALAYSIA / HOBART, AUSTRALIA) Andrew Pattle, the Australian project director of three dam projects in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo said that âsafety and environmental compliance are not given (â¦) much importanceâ with dam-building in Malaysia. Pattleâs astonishing statement, which he made in Hydro Tasmaniaâs latest annual report, has been highlighted yesterday by Sarawak Report, a well-known whistleblower website.
Pattle, a long-term Hydro Tasmania executive, is currently âon secondment from Hydro Tasmania to Sarawak Energy Berhadâ in order to help the Sarawak state government realize a highly controversial dam program. He has recently become the project director of the 1,250 MW Baram and Baleh dam projects and was, until October 2011, project director of the 944 MW Murum dam construction, a dam whose Environmental Impact Assessment report and whose financing have never been disclosed to the public.
Hydro Tasmaniaâs involvement in Sarawak is very questionable, not only for the Sarawak governmentâs failure to meet basic transparency standards but also because of a very significant corruption risk. After Rio Tinto Alcanâs recent withdrawal from an aluminium smelter plan in Sarawak, personal interests of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud are believed to be the main driver behind the continued dam building frenzy in Sarawak. Taib, whose family has multi-billion dollar business interests in over 400 companies in 25 countries, is currently under investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission.
Last week, Australian Greens MP Kim Booth announced he was seeking an internal review with Hydro Tasmania for the companyâs refusal to disclose details on its subsidiary Enturaâs involvement in the Sarawak dam program. Hydro Tasmania is 100%-owned by the Australian state of Tasmania.
The Bruno Manser Fund is very concerned that a publicly-owned Australian company is actively involved in the Sarawak governmentâs socially and environmentally devastating dam program. The Bruno Manser Fund calls on Hydro Tasmania to cut its business ties with the highly corrupt Taib government with immediate effect.
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