Sarawak and state oil firm Petronas should find quick answers to complaints of alleged discrimination against locals for the sake of the workers, said Nancy Shukri.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who is a Sarawak native, also said that a “win-win” solution must be achieved, and urged the disputing parties to consider the families of the workers who have lost their jobs.
“I wish both of them (to) try their best to settle the prolong issues, and let us prove to the world that we are truly a harmonious society that places unity as our priority,” she said.
The Batang Sadong federal lawmaker said the moratorium on work permit approvals for non-Sarawakian Petronas employees is a “normal action by the state.”
Sarawak will also be fair and transparent in responding once Petronas disclose full details of its employment in Sarawak and justifies its action in terminating and retrenching local employees, she added.
Nancy then said she believed that the complaints by the state-sponsored think-tank Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) against Petronas had some basis.
“As a responsible government, it is right for Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to respond justly for his people who feel that they are being unfairly treated by terminating their services,” Nancy said.
SPG president Hamin Yusuf had complained about the removal of 29 permanent positions with the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from Sarawak by Petronas in its upstream restructuring exercise in the state.
Hamin also claimed the majority of senior jobs were then filled by non-Sarawakians, and the influx of personnel from the peninsula filling lower-level jobs further exacerbated the situation.
In its reply, Petronas said that the decision by the state government to freeze all new applications for work permits might be based on a misinterpretation that its recent group-wide business restructuring had unfairly impacted its employees from Sarawak.
This led to a rebuke by Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, who told Petronas that the state was not led by people who act on imaginary issues or those who could not think rationally.
The firm and Sarawak officials will meet tomorrow to discuss the matter.