Campaign Corner: A selection of press releases and short stories highlighting the various campaigns going on in Malaysia.

BMF Press Statement: Norwegian Pension Fund is asked to divest Cahya Mata Sarawak

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NGOs are asking Norges Bank to blacklist Cahya Mata Sarawak due to the company’s involvement in major corruption.

(OSLO, NORWAY) In a joint letter to Norges Bank, the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) and FIVAS, a Norwegian NGO, recommend the exclusion of Sarawak’s largest infrastructure company Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) from the investment universe of Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global. The Norwegian Pension Fund, which manages Norway’s petroleum income, has a 2.02 percent share in CMS, corresponding to a value of USD 11.38 million.

According to the guidelines for the exclusion of companies from the Government Pension Fund Global, companies may be excluded if there is “an unacceptable risk that the company is involved in corruption”.

In its newly released report on CMS, the BMF has shown that the former state enterprise was privatized into the hands of the family of then Chief Minister Taib Mahmud (“Taib”). The family of Sarawak’s current Governor Taib still has a majority holding in the company, which has benefitted from state contracts worth 1.4 billion USD in past years. According to Lukas Straumann, the executive director of the BMF, this is “an anomaly in a democratic state and can only be explained by massive corruption, which has deeply penetrated Sarawak’s corridor of power.”

Over the past few years, Norway’s Pension Fund Global has already blacklisted three of the largest logging giants from Sarawak because of the unacceptable risk of the companies “being responsible for severe environmental damage”.

The Bruno Manser Fund calls on Malaysia to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to examine the privatisation of CMS into the hands of the Taib family.

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The report on “Corruption Management Sarawak” can be found at: http://bmf.ch/upload/berichte/cms_report.pdf

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