Sarawak DAP hails Petronas permit restrictions

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KUCHING: The Sarawak DAP has welcomed the Sarawak Government’s adoption of its suggestion to use the immigration autonomy to issue a moratorium on work permits for Petronas personnel intending to work in the state.

In a statement Monday, state DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen said the move “forces Petronas to view seriously” the demands of Sarawak in terms of fairer employment policies and allocation of resources.

Last Thursday, Chong made the moratorium call, after criticising the employment policy of Petronas in Sarawak whereby less than 39 per cent of the management positions and 46 per cent of the middle management positions are filled by Sarawakians in Petronas’ operation in the state.

Chong said the extent of the State Government’s move to force Petronas to review its employment policy in Sarawak was clear proof that the “so-called sweet and cordial relationship between (Chief Minister) Adenan Satem and (Prime Minister) Najib Razak” amounted to nothing when it came to the distribution of resources between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

“By now, it is hoped that Adenan has wakened from his own make believe that their (Adenan and Najib) soft and cordial relationship will get him the autonomy and rights for Sarawak,” Chong said.

Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas had said the move by the State Government was prompted by complaints from Sarawakian Petronas officers whose services were terminated or retrenched.

Last week, the oil firm retrenched 13 Sarawakian workers following a restructuring exercise. Petronas also abolished 29 permanent positions, according to non-profit group Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG).

“The cold and hard reality is that, the Federal Government and Najib need as much resources and revenue for their extravagance, and Sarawak has a lot to offer. As such, it is impossible for Najib to relinquish this source of revenue,” Chong said.

“Therefore, the Sarawak Government should start taking a hard position and tough action against the Federal Government when it comes to negotiations with the Federal Government for Sarawak’s rights.”

Chong said the Sarawak Government had two tools of “some leverage” over the Federal Government: immigration powers and the threat to withdraw its support for Umno and quit the Barisan Nasional.

“We hope, in the interest of Sarawak, the State Government would give these two tools serious consideration,” Chong said.

Chong had initially made the call for permit restrictions last April in the state assembly, as part of a strategy to force the issue of raising the state’s oil revenue to 20 per cent.