Petronas has come under fire in Sarawak again, this time for terminating the services of Sarawakian and Sabahan tour companies which have been handling the travelling needs of its personnel.
According to a Borneo Post Online report, the Sarawak chapter of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has urged Petronas to explain the termination of services of tour companies which had been servicing Petronas for years, in favour of a Kuala Lumpur-based company as its panel agent.
The chapter’s chairman Chris Kon said the move was very unfair to Sarawakian companies, as one of Petronas’ new criteria for companies wishing to be on their panel of agents was the requirement that they have branches in all states.
“The criteria were given on very short notice, and as a result, local companies lost their businesses with Petronas because they could not fulfil the criteria.
“Big companies benefit, while state-based companies lose out.”
The matter had first been raised by a managing director of a local tour agency who spoke on condition of anonymity to the portal.
The managing director explained that effective July 1 this year, four Sarawak-based tour companies and three Sabah-based tour companies had their services terminated, with all Petronas’ travelling matters now being handled by a Kuala Lumpur-based tour company, which has a joint venture with a French company. .
“As a result, there has been retrenchment of staff by some of the companies who are suffering from financial losses, thus making locals lose their jobs.
“The sudden change in policy also resulted in millions of ringgit worth of unpaid bills owed by Petronas,” he said, adding all International Air Transport Association (IATA) certified tour agents in the country were qualified to handle Petronas’ travel needs.
Earlier this month, Petronas came under fire from Sarawakians, including state politicians from both sides of the divide, for not prioritising Sarawakians in its operations in the state.
This subsequently led to the Sarawak State Government freezing the new work permits of Petronas personnel from outside of Sarawak.