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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taib-linked firm bags RM600mil S'wak Energy job

As the Penan community continues its battle with state-owned company Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) over the Murum Dam, SEB has awarded two contracts worth more than RM600 million to a company linked to the son of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. 

According to a Aug 29 filing with Bursa Malaysia, Sarawak Cable Bhd said its subsidiary Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd (Trenergy) won two contracts, worth RM352.8 million and RM265.8 million each. 

NONEThe contracts are for a 500kV electricity transmission line from Mapai to Lachau and the 500kV Lachau-Tondong transmission line, which will be completed within 23 and 26 months respectively from Nov 15.

Trenergy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Cable, in which Taib's son Mahmud Abu Bekir is chairperson. Bekir also owns 21 percent of the shares in Sarawak Cable.

Denouncing the decision, Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund said that SEB's Norwegian CEO Torstein Sjøtveit has "passed all levels of decency... (and) lost all credibility by claiming that he contributes to the development of Sarawak".

azlanThe decision, BMF director Lukas Strauman said, "continues with the corrupt practice of favouring the chief minister's family". 

Strauman said Sjøtveit has "made himself a tool of the Taib family's unrestrained greed and corruption" and should be ashamed of how he has affected Norway's reputation in Malaysia.

"Already, between 2010 and early 2013, Sjøtveit had granted more than US$220 million (RM695 million) in contracts to Taib family-linked enterprises."
SEB skirts question
In a email correspondence to Malaysiakini received late this evening, Sarawak Energy's senior manager II Haniza Hamid did not respond to queries about nepotism and instead referred to the company's press release issued on August 28.

The press release quoted Sjøtveit stating that successful bidders had the best evaluated tenders and have demonstrated the necessary capabilities and experience to undertake the job.

"The massive scale of the project means that it is not prudent to award this as one large contract to a single bidder. 

"Instead, we intend to mitigate the risk in project execution by engaging multiple contractors, so that we have several big firms working at the same time, to complete the project as soon as possible," he said.

Sjøtveit added that SEB was also happy about the participation of Sarawakians and Malaysian businesses in the tenders, in line with the state government's objective to support local industries.

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