While Sarawak prefers to hire locals, its government will not compromise on quality, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing said after the state was accused of discriminatory employment practices.
In response to recent criticism from the Sarawak branch of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), Masing said the state has a standard operating operating procedure (SOP) to ensure only the most qualified person is taken on for the job, even if it wasn’t a Sarawakian.
“Don’t assume that [the] Sarawak government prioritises the need for local interest at the expense of quality. We aren’t stupid.
“This SOP, which Sarawak government follows, will weed out non-qualified local Sarawakians from being employed and work permits will be issued to non-Sarawakians in accordance to the state laws,” he was quoted as saying by The Borneo Post today.
The Borneo paper had reported Sarawak MTUC chiding the state government for allegedly practising double standards by protecting 13 Sarawakian senior executives recently retrenched by Petronas but repatriating thousands of non-local workers.
In response to the criticism, Masing said the state Immigration Department has been repatriating illegal workers after they were caught and were not ignoring the illegal problem as claimed.
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.
Three days later, Sarawak stopped issuing work permits for Petronas employees from peninsular 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.
The Malay Mail Online