KUCHING, Aug 15 — Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said he had a fruitful meeting with officials from state oil firm Petronas on complaints against alleged discrimination of locals.
“The meeting is productive, and we will meet again this Saturday to iron out on all the issues to the finest details,” Uggah said in a brief statement handed over to the waiting reporters at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.
Uggah was accompanied by Sarawak State Secretary Tan Sri Morshidi Ghani in the private meeting while Petronas was represented by its executive vice president and chief executive officer (upstream) Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib.
Also in the Petronas delegation were senior vice president of group human resource management, Datuk Raiha Azni Abdul Rahman, and senior vice president of corporate strategy Adif Zulkifli.
The meeting was held following the Sarawak government’s decision to place on moratorium on all new applications for work permits for Petronas’ employees from outside Sarawak to work in the state.
The move was in response to complaints by state-sponsored think-tank Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) that Petronas was treating Sarawak natives in its workforce unfairly.
SPG president Hamin Yusuf claimed that the removal of 29 permanent posts had resulted in the retrenchment of 13 experienced staff from Sarawak in Petronas’ upstream restructuring exercise.
In its reply, Petronas said that the decision by the state government to freeze all new applications for work permits might be based on a misinterpretation that its recent group-wide business restructuring had unfairly impacted its employees from Sarawak.
On August 5, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem threatened to cancel the work permits of non-local employees in Petronas if Sarawakians were not given priority to fill senior positions.