Tasmanian government under pressure over unhealthy Sarawak business ties
Australia's SBS ONE television has broadcast an important investigative show uncovering unhealthy ties between the hydropower and the logging sector in Tasmania and Sarawak (Malaysia) with enormous social and environmental consequences.
While Hydro Tasmania, a state-owned energy producer, has been given huge lucrative dam construction projects in Sarawak by Sarawak Energy, Malaysian logging giant Ta Ann has been given major timber contracts in Tasmania.
Both businesses are linked through Hamed Sepawi, who happens to be the chairman of both Sarawak Energy and Ta Ann. Hamed Sepawi is a cousin and close business associate of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, one of Southeast Asia's leading kleptocrats.
In other words, the Tasmanian government maintains a close business relationship with a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) from a high-risk jurisdiction for corruption. From a corruption-prevention point of view, these are clearly high-risk business relationships.
The Bruno Manser Fund would like to raise the question what safeguards the Tasmanian government has in place to prevent its ministers, public officials and managers of state-owned companies from getting involved in corruption, e.g. from accepting bribes? Why is the Tasmanian government so silent on the background and exact connection of its various contracts with Sepawi companies? Shouldn't these obviously unhealthy ties between Tasmania and Sarawak be investigated and audited by an independent body? And why is the Tasmanian government overlooking the violation of basic human rights and transparency standards by its business partners Sarawak Energy and Ta Ann?
Following the broadcast, the Tasmanian Greens called on their government to recall all engineers of Hydro Tasmania from Sarawak:
Ask Hydro Tasmania to back-off Sarawak's dam undertaking by signing the follwing petition:
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