KUCHING: The state government will assert its authority in the oil and gas industry now that a Sarawakian has been nominated to sit on Petronas’ board of directors.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for the appointment, indicating the move was justified considering the decades of oil and gas exploration by the national oil corporation in the state.
He went as far as saying that the state government will not hesitate to freeze work permit applications of Petronas personnel outside of the state if the corporation fails to cooperate in meeting Sarawak’s demand for improved participation in the oil and gas industry.
On Aug 27, the chief minister told a press conference here that state secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Ghani was nominated to sit on Petronas’ board.
“I cannot tolerate the situation where people take our oil, take our gas and we just look at it. We must participate in the industry – meaningful participation.
“There is no more excuse to say that our people are not qualified. Petronas has been involved in the oil and gas industry in Sarawak for the last 40 years and Shell even before that, don’t tell me there are no qualified people,” he said when officiating at the launch of the Sarawak Business Federation at Hilton hotel here yesterday.
He added: “Thank you very much to the prime minister. Would you believe it, they take our oil, they take our gas for all these years and (there’s) not even a Sarawakian in the (Petronas) board of directors.
“Now that we have (board member), we will upsurge our authority. Otherwise I will not give you work permits.”
Adenan mentioned he had preferred a softer approach in the state’s negotiation for better participation in oil and gas. Nevertheless, he was content that the new management of Petronas has been cooperative.
Adenan said the state is looking forward to better relations in the years ahead.
After the announcement of Morshidi Ghani to sit on Petronas’ board, Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman announced the following day (Aug 28) that the northern Borneo state will have a similar representative, revealing it to be its Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary.
Petronas has been accused of late for discriminatory practices in engaging non-locals for jobs and contracts in the state and not being transparent in the signing of PSC contracts on Sarawak oil and gas with foreign participation. -BP