KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has pledged his administration would strengthen co-operation with Petronas to develop the oil and gas industry, including petrochemicals, in the state. This would mean bringing in more investors.
He expressed cautious optimism that oil, despite the slowdown in the global economy, would continue to be the “black gold” and contribute to the state economy.
However, he expressed disappointment that more youths in Sabah were not applying for training programmes arranged by Petronas in the state. “Sometimes, there are not enough trainees for Petronas courses in the state,” said Musa.
He was replying to questions by Opposition Leader Lajim Ukin and Sugut Assemblyman James Ratib in the Sabah Assembly on Monday.
Ratib had wanted to know the steps taken by the Sabah Government to ensure continued investment in the oil and gas industry in the state.
Lajim told the Legislative Assembly that he had received complaints that Petronas was not giving opportunities to local entrepreneurs in its projects in Sabah. “Workers are also now being brought in directly from Indonesia,” said Lajim in requesting clarification.
Foreign workers being given priority, said Musa, was not true. Petronas, he assured, has been told to give priority to local workers. “I have also asked Petronas to give priority to locals for high ranking posts too,” stressed the Chief Minister. “However, we lack skilled workers.”
“The national oil corporation has been asked to train our youths so that they can fill the vacancies in the state.”
The Chief Minister said that Petronas has set up a training centre in Sabah.
He urged local youths to take advantage of the opportunities provided and equip themselves with the necessary skills for the oil and gas industry.
“The government would like to see more local youths taking up employment opportunities in the state,” he said.