Tuesday, August 9, 2016

S'wak PKR supports freeze on work permits for Petronas jobs in the state

Published     Updated

Sarawak PKR said it supports the state government’s decision to freeze work permits for non-Sarawakians who want to work for Petronas in the state.

This comes less than a week after party secretary-general Rafizi Ramli disapproved of the move because he believed it would be counterproductive for Sarawakian staff.

However, Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson See Chee How said today the moratorium was good as there are qualified Sarawakians who can fill the positions.

“It should not be limited to new work permits, but also to the renewal of work permits of Petronas staff who are non-Sarawakian,” said the Batu Lintang assemblyperson in a statement.

Sarawak deputy chief minister Douglas Uggah Embas yesterday announced that the state government will impose a moratorium with immediate effect on all new applications for work permits from 
Petronas personnel from outside Sarawak who intend to work in the state. 

The move came amid complaints of Sarawakians being retrenched from Petronas' operations in the state despite the already low participation from locals.

However, Rafizi had said last Friday that establishing quotas in Petronas would only limit Sarawakian staff's experience to within the state, rather than allow them to enjoy the broad opportunities across the Petronas group.

He said such policies would only put the Sarawak staff on the losing end in the long term.

Instead of banning Peninsular staff, Rafizi said they should focus on the root cause of the problem: BN's failure to keep its promises to Sarawak on the terms of autonomy and fairer oil royalties.

Renegotiate Sarawak's resources

Meanwhile, See took note that Petronas might send its officials to meet Douglas, and said the state government should not make any concession a piecemeal affair.

“(The state government must) demand that the federal government should meet with the state government to renegotiate and agree on the new arrangements to jointly develop our petroleum resources in Sarawak,” said See.

The state assemblyperson said the terms and conditions of the tripartite Petroleum Development Agreement between the state government, the federal government and Petronas should first be revisited and renegotiated.

“Sarawak should be the ultimate decision-maker in determining the shares of equity and direct participation of Sarawak state corporations in the new Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) which are involved in the production and development of oil and gas and related products in Sarawak.

“Sarawak should be the equity shareholder and Sarawak state-owned corporations should be a partner in existing PSCs which are coming up for extension,” he added.

See said Petronas should also immediately set up a branch campus of its Universiti Teknologi Petronas in Sarawak to ensure that more opportunities are given to Sarawakians.

“The state government must now seize the opportunity to turn the state from a passive recipient of petroleum royalty to be a serious participant in the oil and gas industry.

“Being the decision-maker in determining the development of our natural resources will also allow the state to conserve our exhaustible natural resources, to ensure that it is sustainable for the benefit of our future generation,” said See.

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