Don’t treat Sarawak as stepchild, Petronas told

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

PETALING JAYA: The outpouring of discontent towards Petronas by Sarawakians is a culmination of years of feeling that they are treated as “stepchildren”, a senior PBB leader said.

According to a Borneo Post Online report, state Assistant Minister of Housing Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah hoped Petronas would take the necessary actions to address the feeling of discontent expressed by the people of the state.

“We expect positive action from Petronas in reviewing their employment policy, contracts for Sarawakian companies, sincere effort to establish downstream industries in the state where resources are extracted, scholarships to Sarawakians and to perform more corporate social responsibility(CSR) programmes in Sarawak,” he was quoted as saying.

Karim’s statement comes in the wake of Petronas’ statement on Tuesday that the Sarawak Government’s moratorium on hiring non-Sarawakians in Petronas in the state was based on a false perception that a recent group-wide business restructuring had unfairly impacted Sarawakian employees.

In the past week, Sarawakian leaders from both sides of the political divide, have taken a unified stand on the prioritisation of hiring Sarawakians for Petronas in the state.

Prior to this, Karim had warned Petronas against insulting Sarawak.

He had also stated that he fully agreed with a proposal by PKR Secretary-General Rafizi Ramli that the Sabah and Sarawak state governments form their own state-owned petroleum companies which would give both governments better control over their own resources.

The issue came up after Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG), a Sarawakian non-profit organisation, called on Petronas to give priority to locals when filling vacancies in the oil-and-gas company’s operations in the state.

SPG President Hamin Yusuf had pointed out last week that only 39 per cent of management positions and 46 per cent of middle management positions in Petronas’ Sarawak operations were filled by locals.