KUCHING: Barisan Nasional leaders in Sarawak have voiced their support for the move to freeze all new applications for work permits for non-Sarawakian Petronas staff to work in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister James Jemut Masing said the move was an appropriate use of the state’s immigration powers.
“This is the best and the only move the Sarawak government can do to prevent Petronas from employing non-Sarawakians in the oil and gas industry in Sarawak waters. We have immigration powers enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, so use it instead of crying about Petronas not being fair to Sarawakians,” Masing told FMT.
“What is the use of having powers if we don’t use them?”
Masing, who is the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) President, added that Petronas must not use the availability of jobs in Sarawak to “discriminate” against qualified local Sarawakians seeking employment in the industry.
“I urge Petronas to be reasonable and to give the Sarawakian people, employment they deserve and business opportunities which we are capable of doing,” he added.
State Local Government minister Dr Sim Kui Hian echoed Masing’s remark, saying the state government’s ruling had set a precedent.
“We had to interfere for teachers in the government system. There is no reason why the same rule cannot apply for a government-linked company,” Sim said.
“We are grateful that our fellow Sarawakians have brought the matter to the attention of the CM and the cabinet. Sarawak government will have the interest of Sarawakians first,” said the SUPP president.
The moratorium was mooted by Sarawak DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen last Thursday, when he urged the Sarawak Government to revoke the work and immigration permits of non-Sarawakians holding management and middle-management jobs in Petronas in the state.
The state Opposition leader made the call, saying that priority must instead be given to Sarawakians when it came to employment by Petronas’ Sarawak operations.
The state government did not take long to implement the proposal. This morning, it was reported that the state government had frozen with immediate effect, all new applications for work permits for non-Sarawakians, to work in Petronas in the state.