Angkor Beer Chief Behind Controversial Laos Border Dam

As the director of one of Cam­bodia’s largest breweries, Malay­sian businessman Goh Nan Kioh has made millions selling Angkor Beer to Cambodians.

But now his latest business venture, a controversial mainstream Mekong dam in Laos, is drawing the ire of environmentalists who believe that it will be detrimental to Cambodia’s fisheries, which are the main protein source for Cam­bodians living downstream.

 Khoo Teng Keat, executive director of Mega First Corpora­tion Bhd—the Malay­sian company in charge of building the Don Sahong dam in Laos—confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Goh is both the executive chairman of Mega First and the director for Cam­bodian beverage giant Cambrew Ltd., which produces the popular Angkor Beer. …

According to the company’s website, Cambrew assumed control of Angkor Brewery in 1991, and has since grown to produce other beers, including Angkor Extra Stout, Black Panther and Klang Beer. Mr. Goh is also listed as the chairman of Cambrew with the Ministry of Commerce.

For Mega First, the 260-MW Don Sahong dam would be the first hydropower development undertaken by the Malaysian investment company, which has in the past focused on power plants and extractive industries.

Located about a kilometer away from the Cambodia-Laos border in an area known as Khone Falls —where islands and water channels are braided together on the Me­kong mainstream—the Don Sa­hong dam could block the migratory passages of Mekong River fish and lead to the extinction of the Irrawaddy Dolphin and the Giant Mekong Catfish, environmentalists say. …

Dene-Hern Chen