MALAYSIA’S national oil company PETRONAS has expressed  concern over a move by the Sarawak State Government to place a moratorium on all new applications for work permits for PETRONAS’ employees from outside Sarawak to work in the State.

PETRONAS said that it believes the decision, announcedin early August, may have been made based on the misperception that PETRONAS’ recent group-wide business restructuring had unfairly impacted its employees from Sarawak.

The Asian oil and gas powerhouse said Sarawak remains a key investment State, where its workforce requirement will continue to grow.

“PETRONAS expects the majority of the workforce required to meet the new manpower demand will constitute Sarawakians, as per existing recruitment practices. A number of positions is expected to be filled by experienced employees, which may include non-Sarawakians,” the company said in a statement.

The compamny said the key to the successful delivery and operations of its projects in the State is the support and commitment from all relevant parties, most important of whom are PETRONAS’ teams of qualified, trained and dedicated employees – no matter where they are from.

“PETRONAS has had a number of engagement and briefings with the Sarawak State Government’s officials at various levels following the restructuring exercise,” the company stated,

“PETRONAS will continue with its engagement efforts, including with Deputy Chief Minister Dato’ Sri Douglas Uggah Embas to address the State’s concerns with regards to PETRONAS’ manpower requirement in Sarawak.

“PETRONAS, like many other oil and gas companies worldwide, will continue to review its business strategies and manpower requirements for better efficiency and sustainability, to make it more resilient and focused to thrive in the current and future industry landscapes,” the company concluded.