Abdullah Saidol insists the decision to include a Dayak on the board of directors had been part of the plan from the beginning.
PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak assistant minister today denied that the decision to include a Dayak on the board of directors of state-owned oil and gas company Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) was due to online pressure.
Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol said the introduction of the new member had been planned before the board of directors was announced.
“But at that particular point of time, I think the chief minister was still waiting for a response from a few potential board members, particularly to represent the Dayak.
“It was never due to pressure from social media that the chief minister introduced a new member to the Petros board,” he was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.
The racial make-up of Petros’ board of directors came under fire last week following Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg’s announcement of Hamid Bugo as chairman and Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Sharbini Suhaili, Zuraimi Sabki and Heng Hock Cheng as other board members.
Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) had pointed out that there were many highly-qualified Iban and Bidayuh holding various prominent positions in Sarawak Shell Berhad and Petronas.
“The exclusion of Iban or Bidayuh representatives from the Petros’ board of directors is one of many classic examples of lack of political manoeuvring by our Iban and Bidayuh leaders,” the party had said.
Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah subsequently said he had been tasked by Abang Johari to identify a non-Muslim Bumiputera candidate for the board.
“I was told by the chief minister a few hours ago to do so. He now wants a non-Muslim Bumiputera member on the board of Petros,” Douglas was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.
However, Abdullah said Douglas’ statement had been misconstrued, insisting that the decision was not due to the online backlash.
Abang Johari announced the formation of Petros on Aug 6.
He said then that its board members would comprise Sarawakian professionals within the industry.
He added that there would be no politicians on the board, and that only those with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry would be chosen to serve in it.
Sarawak agrees to non-Muslim Bumiputera for Petros board
Dayak party questions racial makeup of Petros board