Defining Sustainability in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy
Chief Minister Taib has set in place a massive sustainable dam project (SCORE) to increase energy production throughout Malaysia and develop Sarawak’s economy by bringing foreign industrial investment to the area. The SCORE project dams have been qualified as sustainable by the International Hydropower Association’s (IHA) Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum, and construction on the Murum Dam, the third of a potential 12 dams, was completed in 2013.
The dams will produce an abundance of affordable electricity to the area in a sustainable way and will bring in new jobs. Energy provision through Murum Dam offers significant advantages for foreign industrial investment in the region, which will directly benefit Minister Taib due to his position as a shareholder in a large number of companies in the region including construction companies and financial institutions.
Assmang, a South African company, is considering establishing a ferroalloy smelting facility in association with a Japanese and a Taiwanese firm. The smelting facility would take advantage of the cheap and stable energy provided by the SCORE project. But before Assmang finalizes the deal, the company must decide whether such close association with the SCORE project and Chief Minister Taib violates its standards of sustainability and transparency, and, if this is the case, whether it is reason enough to back down.
This case study is part of a series of cases designed for the course "Case Studies in Sustainable Development" at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).