NorWatch has visited the refinery on the west coast of Malaysia twice. When we first visited in 1996, we met an exasperated local community struggling for decent compensation after two villages had to give way for the refinery in 1993.
The matter was still not settled when we again visited the plant in the spring of 2000. In early summer, it was announced that the last 59 families had received compensation from the company, although far less than in the original memorandum of understanding. The families affected were indignant about the low sum, but were relieved that the matter was finally done with.
Malaysian legislation prevents the trade union at the refinery from organising together with other refinery employees. They have to organise in the union of workers in state-owned companies. The union leader expressed severe dissatisfaction with this arrangement. Statoil's Kristin Bremer Nebben says to Aftenposten daily that the company has raised these criticisms with its partners, and that the company is satisfied with their answers. (See NW 2/97, 2/00 and 8/00)
Norwatch Newsletter 4/01