Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) can immediately put things right by employing and promoting more Sarawakians to senior positions in their Sarawak operations.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) Serian chairman Edward Andrew Luak said the national oil and gas corporation should emulate Shell Malaysia in the appointment of top and middle management personnel.
Edward, himself a former Shell employee, said Shell Malaysia was far better than Petronas in its recruitment of staff in the Sarawak operations.
He said when Shell Malaysia embarked on the ‘Malaysianisation’ of its workforce, its Sarawak operations gave preference to the ‘Borneonisation’ of its management team.
“Due to this, Sarawakians headed most of the various sections of the operations in its Miri headquarters.”
He said Sarawakians also headed the Sarawak operations, technical division, personnel management, corporate affairs and others.
“We witnessed Shell Malaysia, Sarawak Operations and Shell MDS being led by Sarawakians. This scenario is hardly seen in Petronas.
“Petronas should seriously re-look at the issue and immediately put things right. The cry of Sarawakians and the Sarawak government will be louder if this issue is not resolved, and resolved immediately.
“It would be fair to give Petronas until end of 2016 to address the issue,” he said, commenting on the controversy surrounding Petronas’ recruitment policies in Sarawak.
The issue was raised when Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) revealed that Petronas during a restructuring process had abolished 29 permanent positions which resulted in the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from Sarawak in its upstream restructuring exercise in Sarawak.
Since then, leaders across the political divide have urged the state government to act fast to stop workers from other states from working here, prompting Sarawak to impose a moratorium with immediate effect on all new work permit applications by non-Sarawakian Petronas personnel intending to work here.
Edward said while appointments and promotions were very much driven by meritocracy and performance in the business sector, this was very much doubted in the case of Petronas.
This had given rise to Sarawakians and even the state government expressing their grievances on the perceived lopsided appointment of board members, recruitment process, progression and lay-off of the top and middle-management positions in Petronas, he added.
“There are reasons to believe that Sarawakians and the state government are not happy. The spill-over effect of the unhappiness will encompass political leaders as well community leaders.
“The Board of Directors of Petronas and its subsidiary company, particularly Petronas Carigali are Malayan- (Peninsular Malaysian) monopolised. Promotions in Petronas are Malaya-driven. Recruitment of professionals as well technical staff are Malaya-driven.
“Yes, Malayans seem to be the preferred choice. We only see more Sarawakian staff at the support staff level,” he said.
He went on to say that people of Sarawak believed there were Sarawakians who were at par or even better than their peers from Malaya, since many were among the cream of graduates from institutions of higher learning, both local and overseas.
Even if academic merit was not there, the fact that Sarawak owned the resource justified the argument Sarawakians should be given priority when it came to employee recruitment, he added.
The Borneo Post Online