Sarawak did not suspend work permit approvals for non-resident Petronas personnel due to imagined problems, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said today.
He told the national oil corporation that the step was also not taken due to any restructuring at Petronas.
“The 42 years of Petronas [prejudiced] recruitment against Sarawak is not a figment of Sarawak leaders’ imagination, but is based on actual happenings including the latest restructuring exercise,” he told Malay Mail Online when asked respond to Petronas’s statement issued yesterday.
He said the national oil corporation should not assume that Sarawak leaders cannot think rationally and intelligently before the state government decided on the moratorium.
Masing, who is also minister of infrastructure development and transportation, then urged Petronas to stop denying that Sarawakians were discriminated against in the recruitment exercise.
“The sooner Petronas stops being on denial mood, the sooner it will be for them to move forward for its betterment as an international organisation,” he said.
In a statement yesterday, Petronas claimed that the state’s decision to temporarily stop issuing work permits to non-resident personnel may have been prompted by a misunderstanding of its group-wide restructuring.
It also said the majority of workers required to meet the new manpower demand would be filled by experienced employees, which might include non-Sarawakians.
Petronas also pledged to continue engaging with state officials, including Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, to address Sarawak’s concerns regarding hiring practices there.