Monday, August 8, 2016

No more new work permits for now

KUCHING: Sarawak has frozen with immediate effect all new applications for work permits from Petronas personnel who intend to work in the state, revealed Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He told The Borneo Post yesterday that this was to ensure Petronas would be fair and transparent in engaging with Sarawak regarding its operations in the state.

“The state government will put a moratorium with immediate effect on all new applications for work permits from Petronas personnel from outside Sarawak who intend to work in Sarawak.”

Uggah said the state government’s decision was prompted by complaints from Sarawakian Petronas officers whose services were terminated or retrenched.

“We have raised the matter with Petronas to seek explanations. Their response then was quite positive as it is also in line with Petronas’ current position of reducing cost of its operations nationwide and globally due to lower revenue as a result of the drop in oil prices,” he said.

“But in light of the recent revelation by the  president (Hamin Yusuf) of Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG), we are now waiting for a detailed explanation from Petronas. We will also be seeking verifications on the figures from SPG.” He reiterated that the state government had also requested Petronas to disclose full details of its employment in Sarawak.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy, said he had been tasked by the state government to issue the statement as Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem is currently overseas.

On Friday, Uggah told The Borneo Post that he had communicated with a top Petronas official in Kuala Lumpur, and the official told him he (the official) would come back with the requested details soon.

Uggah said whatever the outcome of the report from Petronas, it would be further discussed between the state government and the national oil corporation.

“We hope that with the report later on, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem will be able to do something on what needs to be done for Sarawak’s greater participation in Petronas’ operations in Sarawak.”

He was commenting on The Borneo Post’s front-page reports on two consecutive days on the concerns raised by SPG about the abolishment of 29 permanent positions that resulted in the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from Sarawak by Petronas in its upstream restructuring exercise in Sarawak.

Hamin also claimed the majority of senior jobs were filled by non-Sarawakians, and the influx of personnel from the peninsula filling lower-level jobs further exacerbated the situation.

Prior to this, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing had called on the relevant authorities, like State Immigration Department, to see how they could play its part on the intake of workers from the peninsula.

On the other hand, DAP state chairman Chong Chieng Jen and PKR state vice chairman See Chee How had also criticised the state government for its slowness in seeking greater participation for Sarawakians in Peronas’ operations even though most oil and gas were found in the state.

See pointed out that the right approach to compel Putrajaya to stop its unfair and unjust treatment of Sarawak was to repeal or amend the Territorial Act 2012.

Meanwhile, reliable sources revealed that Petronas officials were expected to meet up with Uggah tomorrow.

~ Borneo Post

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