JOHOR BAHRU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has defended Sarawak’s stand to issue a moratorium on work permit applications of Petronas personnel outside the state, by stressing that Sarawakians must be given priority in the corporation’s operations in the state.
In his first public statement on the controversy surrounding Petronas’ recruitment policies in Sarawak, he even warned that the Sarawak government may even cancel the work permits already approved to the Petronas personnel.
“Now we are putting a freeze on work permit of Petronas personnel from outside of Sarawak. We have always insisted that Sarawakian be given first priority. If you (Petronas) don’t do that, we’ll freeze your work permit.
“The next step is if that doesn’t work we’ll cancel the work permit already given and replace it with our own. But we will do that step by step. We won’t do it altogether. We’ll do it step by step. And we want the royalty to be increased from 5 per cent to more than 5 per cent,” he said.
Adenan made these remarks at the dinner with Anak-Anak Sarawak at a leading hotel here last night (Aug 12).
The Sarawak government and Petronas will meet on Monday (Aug 15) here to discuss the national oil corporation’s recruitment practices in Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and State Secretary (SS) Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani will represent the state government in the talk to find out the recruitment and retrenchment practices of Petronas regarding Sarawakians.
After that, they are scheduled to meet the chief minister.
The issue of Petronas’ preference for Peninsular Malaysians over Sarawakians for jobs in the state has recently been widely highlighted in the media.
The issue was raised when Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) revealed that Petronas in a restructuring process had abolished 29 permanent positions which resulted in the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from 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 Uggah to issue a statement that a moratorium would be imposed with immediate effect on all new applications for work permit by Petronas personnel from outside Sarawak intending to work here.
In response, Petronas had on Tuesday issued a statement asserting its stand on hiring practices and that the decision to impose a moratorium was based on “the wrong perception that its recent group-wide business restructuring had unfairly impacted its employees from Sarawak.”