Surprise call at Norway headquarters: Borneo natives take Norconsult to task

Surprise call at Norway headquarters: Borneo natives take Norconsult to task

(SANDVIKA / NORWAY) A delegation of dam-affected natives from the Malaysian state of Sarawak have today made a surprise call at the Oslo headquarters of Norconsult, the Norwegian energy consultancy group. They demanded to talk to Norconsult’s CEO and President, John Nyheim, about the company’s businesses in Sarawak. The company secretariat, however, refused to let the natives talk to their staff and asked them to leave their headquarters in Sandvika in the greater Oslo area.

Norconsult has been providing technical and engineering services to the state-owned Malaysian dam builder and power supplier, Sarawak Energy, through its Malaysian subsidiary, NorPower. Sarawak Energy is currently implementing a series of 12 hydropower dams in the rainforests of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. These dams will flood hundreds of square kilometres of forest and displace tens of thousands of indigenous people. Norconsult’s knowledge and advice are essential for the realization of the dam initiative.

Indigenous representative Lah Jok, whose village Long Liam will be flooded by the proposed Baram Dam, is shocked about Norconsult’s lack of interest in the plight of the affected people: “We have travelled so far and no one in this big company can spare a minute to talk to us?”

The delegation of Sarawak’s SAVE Rivers network had asked for a formal meeting with Norconsult but werte turned down by CEO and President John Nyheim. Peter Kallang, leader of the native delegation reacted with outrage: “How can it be that Norconsult are assisting Sarawak Energy to drown our people but refuse to meet us? Mr. Nyheim and his staff must know that they cannot silence us. We ask them to stop advising Sarawak Energy.”

The Borneo delegation will continue its Europe tour in the North of Norway. Tomorrow, they will visit Norway’s controversial Alta Dam built in the late 1970s on the land of the indigenous Sami people. The Malaysians will meet representatives of the Sami Parliament as well as Sami people who were involved in the resistance against the construction of the Alta Dam. On their lands

The Bruno Manser Fund condemns Norconsult’s arrogant stance and lack of transparency in its dealings with the stakeholders from Sarawak’s indigenous communities.


Large dams can only serve as last resort, acknowledged the Malaysian Ministry of the Environment.




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