By The Mekong Eye
Cambodia, September 9, 2016
Community members worried about a major dam being constructed in Laos released a video this week appealing for a boycott of Cambodia’s number one beer manufacturer, Angkor Beer.
The video-makers are calling on, “fellow Cambodians to boycott Cambrew’s Angkor Beer until Cambrew Director Mr. Goh Nan Kioh halts the construction of the Don Sahong Dam,” a major hydropower project located just two kilometers north of Cambodia.
Stop Don Sahong, Boycott Angkor Beer claims the 32 meter-high dam now under construction will affect the flow of the Mekong River, destroy fisheries and farmland in Cambodia and the lower Mekong, and affect millions of people in neighboring countries—all to generate only 260 MW of hydroelectricity. Of particular concern is the loss of of the last of the Irrawaddy dolphin’s Mekong habitat.
New video calls for Angkor Beer’s parent company to stop the construction of Don Sahong dam, just across the Cambodian border in Laos
Communities are amplifying their protests against the Angkor Beer company, which produces the most widely consumed beer in Cambodia. Angkor is 50% owned by the Carlsberg Group, the fourth largest brewing company in the world.
The dam is forecast to cause upwards of $1.2 billion in annual losses to fisheries alone in Cambodia and Vietnam. Conversely, a proposed alternative, the Thako Project, would pose far fewer impacts to communities and biodiversity, yet provide nearly the same hydroelectricity benefits.
The Don Sahong project has been under scrutiny for its public consultation process, and activists have called for the complete cancellation of the construction, fearing devastating impacts on fisheries, agriculture and the region’s ecology.
Angkor Beer is a focus of protesters’ questions because Malaysian investor Goh Nan Kioh is a director of Angkor’s parent company Cambrew, and also head of Mega First, the Malaysian company building the dam.
For its part, Cambrew has denied any role in Don Sahong, saying the two are are “distinct legal entities” with no connection.
“Angkor Beer is not involved in the Don Sahong project,” Angkor Beer executive Chheng Leap has said to protesters, as reported by Radio Free Asia. “What you are all doing is affecting the public order and the reputation of the company.”
The Don Sahong site had its “commencement ceremony” in August and construction of the dam is reported to be almost 10% complete. It is one of at least 11 planned and under-construction dams on the main-stem of the Mekong River, as countries look to harness new sources of power to support the region’s economic growth.
Photo credit: streykhmer.org
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