Reports that Petronas will deploy 90 workers from the peninsula to Sarawak amid a discrimination row there was greeted angrily by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing.
Talks are ongoing between the state and the state oil firm over its alleged discrimination against Sarawakians, after 13 state natives lost their jobs in a restructuring exercise.
“Why does Petronas need 90 work permits when local Sarawakians in Petronas are being retrenched? Is Petronas doing the restructuring of its employees for trimming exercise due to the economic downturn, or are they replacing Sarawakians with West Malaysians? Is it retrenching or replacing or exercise?
“Petronas, please be transparent with us. We are not your dumping ground for peninsula employees,” he was quoted as saying by local news portal the Borneo Post.
The state on August 8 stopped issuing work permits for Petronas employees from West Malaysia to ensure that the national oil corporation would be fair and transparent in engaging with Sarawak regarding its operations in the state.
The move was in response to complaints by state-sponsored think-tank Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) that Petronas was treating Sarawak natives in its workforce unfairly.
SPG president Hamin Yusuf claimed that the removal of 29 permanent posts had resulted in the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from Sarawak in Petronas’ upstream restructuring exercise.
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.
On August 5, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem threatened to cancel the work permits of non-local employees in Petronas if Sarawakians were not given priority to fill senior positions.
The Malay Mail Online