KUCHING: The state government is not that ‘stupid’ to prioritise employment for Sarawakians at the expense of quality, says Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing.
“Don’t assume that Sarawak government prioritises the need for local interest at the expense of quality. We aren’t stupid,” he said.
The deputy chief minister was responding to Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak chairman Mohd Ibrahim Hamid’s statement at the division’s sixth Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC) on Saturday that competency must not be compromised in giving priority to Sarawakians in recruitment of personnel.
Mohd Ibrahim added that the Petronas employment issue had been blown out of proportion by certain quarters.
MTUC in a press statement issued at the TDC claimed the state government was quick to protect the 13 Sarawakian senior executives retrenched by Petronas while ignoring the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers in the state.
In his response, Masing said: “I think MTUC, Mohd Ibrahim, is either confused or he is in the dark of what Immigration Department has been doing over the years.
“Sarawak authorities are repatriating hundreds of illegal workers every year, once they are caught. They don’t turn a blind eye to illegal workers as accused.”
Masing pointed out the public and private sectors in the state practised a standard operating procedure (SOP), whereby prior to hiring non-Sarawakians,
job vacancies must be advertised first and if there were no takers locally, only then would non-Sarawakians be hired.
“I don’t know whether Petronas follows this SOP when Petronas wanted to employ non-Sarawakians. This SOP, which Sarawak government follows, will weed out non qualified local Sarawakians from being employed and work permits will be issued to non-Sarawakians in accordance to the state laws.
At the same time Petronas or other agencies must not treat Sarawak as dumping ground for workers from Malaya,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.