Karim welcomes Rafizi’s idea of state-owned oil company


PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak Barisan Nasional leader has welcomed the idea for state government-owned petroleum companies to be formed in Sabah and Sarawak.

Sarawak Assistant Minister of Housing Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told FMT he fully agreed with the proposal put forth by PKR lawmaker Rafizi Ramli for the Sabah and Sarawak state governments to form their own petroleum companies with assistance from Petronas.

Rafizi proposed the idea yesterday, saying it would help both the Borneo states better develop their respective petroleum industries while giving both state governments better control over the management of the companies.

“I fully support the formation of new entities by the Sarawak and Sabah state governments to carry out exploration activities within their respective territorial jurisdictions.

“This way, both states can have better control of state assets and resources,” Karim said, adding that the companies could either be existing companies like Sarawak Energy or entirely new entities.

The more important factor, he said was that the petroleum company was owned and run by the respective state governments.

Karim however did not agree with a proposal by Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen that work and immigration permits of non-Sarawakians working in the state’s Petronas operations, be revoked.

Chong had earlier called on the Sarawak state government to set a 70 per cent quota for Sarawakian management and middle management employees in Petronas in the state. He said that until the quota was met, work and immigration permits of non-Sarawakians should be revoked.

In disagreeing with Chong’s proposal, Karim pointed out that Rafizi himself once worked in Petronas and because of his experience there, was now in a better position to relate to Petronas’s working culture as well as understand how the procurement of employees was conducted.

“In some ways, I agree with Rafizi against the total barring of Peninsular Malaysians in Petronas in Sarawak, as it would not help with integration and a harmonious Malaysia.”

“My request is that Sarawakians be given priority for vacancies in Petronas in Sarawak.”

Earlier, Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG), a Sarawakian non-profit organisation also called on Petronas to give priority to Sarawakians when filling vacancies in the company’s operations in the state.

SPG president Hamin Yusuf pointed out that at present, only 39 per cent of management positions and 46 per cent of middle management positions in Sarawak Petronas were filled by Sarawakians.

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