Sarawak will be fair and transparent with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) in resolving the current manpower imbroglio if the national oil corporation justify their recent action and disclose full details of its employment in the state.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said Sarawak’s decision to freeze new work permit applications by Petronas personnel who wanted to work in the state had its merits.
Furthermore, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s stand on the issue was right because Sarawakians had been unfairly treated when their services with Petronas were terminated.
Nancy, who is Batang Sadong MP, said she had been following the arguments on the drastic action taken by Sarawak against Petronas.
“It was clearly stated by the Sarawak state government that any new applications for work permits from Petronas have been frozen as a result of complaints from Sarawakian Petronas officers whose services were terminated and retrenched as revealed by the Suarah Petroleum Group. (SPG). It is a normal reaction by the state.”
The issue of Petronas’ preference for Peninsular Malaysians over Sarawakians for jobs in the
state has been widely highlighted in the media of late.
The issue was raised when SPG revealed that in a restructuring process, Petronas had abolished 29 permanent positions, which resulted in the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from Sarawak.
Nancy said her comments were based on what she had read in the media since she was overseas
“Personally, I am perturbed by the many comments. If they are not resolved fast, it will create an unhealthy relationship between Petronas and the state government.”
She opined the state government was merely doing what was right for Petronas’s Sarawakians employees.
“YAB CM Datuk Patinggi Adenan is a reasonable and exemplary leader. He will
certainly resolve the issue amicably once he is given a better picture of the whole issue. He just got back from overseas, too.”
Nancy said the welfare of Sarawakians had always been a matter of concern ever since Malaysia was formed. The British wanted to make sure that Sarawakians were well taken care of when Malaysia was formed.
“Back then, Sarawak was not even a developing state. It was way too early to talk about infrastructure development then, let alone having qualified people to sit in government agencies,” she said.
“But I believe those Sarawakian employees whose services were terminated or retrenched by Petronas were qualified to hold their respective positions in the corporation.”
Nancy said the use of the state’s immigration power against Petronas was the first since 1963.
“Was the action a reflection of the seriousness of the state government on the devolution of power issue or to show its autonomy power under the federation?”
Nancy opined that firstly the action was to ensure Petronas would be fair and transparent in engaging with Sarawak regarding its operations in the state.
Secondly, it was an isolated and independent action upon receiving complaints from SPG and Sarawakians, as a whole.
“This reflects that Sarawakians are becoming more aware of their rights under the Constitution, and the state government has to act accordingly in the interests of Sarawakians.
“I would say that has nothing to do with the devolution power issues since negotiations are in progress, and the commitment given by the federal government is very positive.”
Nancy hoped Petronas and the state government would resolve the current issue promptly.
“There may be opportunists out there wishing us to prolong the issue, which doesn’t bring us to anywhere. Just think of these employees who have families to feed and to continue with their family responsibilities.
“A win-win solution has to be expedited. As a Malaysian and Sarawakian, let us prove to the world that we are truly a harmonious society that places unity as our priority.”
Nancy hoped the public could help with more positive suggestions rather than becoming their own ‘judges’.
Meanwhile, it was recently announced that Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and State
Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani will meet with Petronas in Kuching today to discuss the corporation’s recruitment and retrenchment practices affecting Sarawakians.
Churchill Edward, firstname.lastname@example.org