The state government’s move to issue a moratorium on new applications for work permits from Petronas personnel from outside Sarawak who intend to work in Sarawak speaks volumes about the not so close relationship between the federal and state governments when it comes to the distribution of resources between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the fact that the state government had to go to this extent just so that Petronas would review its unfair employment policy towards Sarawak showed that the so-called sweet and cordial relationship between Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had gotten nowhere when it came to the demand of state rights.
“By now, it is hoped that Adenan has woken from his own make-believe that their (Adenan and Najib) soft and cordial relationship will get him the autonomy and rights for Sarawak.
“The cold and hard reality is that, the federal government and Najib need as much resources and revenues for their extravagance and Sarawak has a lot to offer. As such, it is impossible for Najib to relinquish this source of revenue,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
In view of this, Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, opined that the Sarawak state government should start taking a hard position and tough action against the federal government when it comes to negotiation for Sarawak’s rights.
“At present, there are only two tools that the Sarawak government has some leverage over the federal government, namely the immigration autonomy and the threat to withdraw its support for Umno and quit national BN.
“We hope, in the interest of Sarawak, the state government should give these two tools serious consideration.”
Chong said as early as April 27 last year, he had suggested in the Sarawak State Assembly that the state’s immigration power be used by the state government to force the issue of 20 per cent oil and gas royalty.
In quoting the Hansard, Chong said he had then said: “I will give you two suggestions. The first one, the first suggestion is to use our immigration power and cancel the work permit of all the West Malaysians currently employed at the executive and managerial level in the office of Petronas, MLNG and the subsidiary companies in Sarawak.
“Cancel their work permit. They cannot continue to work in Sarawak. This will put a halt, maybe, a stop to its operation production until the matter is finally sorted out. It may cause some loss of revenue but it is better to put a halt to the production than to allow the continuous extraction when we are only getting five per cent royalty. After all, if the operation were stopped, oil and gas will still remain in our soil.”
Three days ago, Chong said he repeated the same call albeit only in respect of the unfair employment policy of Petronas in Sarawak whereby only 39 per cent of the management positions and 46 per cent of the middle management positions were filled by Sarawakians in Petronas’ operation in Sarawak.
“DAP Sarawak welcomes the state government’s adoption of DAP’s suggestion to use the immigration autonomy to force Petronas to view seriously the demands of Sarawak in terms of fairer employment policies and allocation of resources. I am glad that the Sarawak Government adopted the suggestion made three days ago.”
The Borneo Post Online