Sarawak DAP says it is “unacceptable” not to make the appointment 100 days after the state government announced it would look for a suitable candidate.
PETALING JAYA: DAP today accused Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg of not being serious in wanting to appoint a non-Muslim Dayak to the board of directors of Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), the newly formed state oil and gas company.
Abdul Aziz Isa, the special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, said it was “unacceptable” to delay the appointment 100 days after the state government announced it would look for a suitable non-Muslim Dayak to be included in the board of Petros.
“Why is it so difficult to name at least one non-Muslim Dayak to the Petros BoD? Why does it take so long to look for a professional and an educated non-Muslim Dayak?” Aziz said in a statement today.
Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah said in Kuching on Aug 30 that he had been tasked by Abang Johari to identify the right candidate, several days after the chief minister named the board of directors without the inclusion of a non-Muslim Dayak member.
The issue sparked widespread dissatisfaction within the community and went viral on social media.
However, Uggah said he believed it would not be easy to find the right candidate from the non-Muslim Bumiputera community to be part of the Petros board, as many criteria needed to be fulfilled.
“There are a few names being recommended but we must first make sure that the person is really qualified. We nevertheless hope to find the suitable person soon,” he was quoted as saying in the Sarawak media.
Aziz dismissed the state’s contention, pointing out that many Dayaks were employed by big oil and gas companies such as Shell and Petronas.
“They even have experience working in other countries such as United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Brazil, Canada, and even in Russia. Some of them even hold managerial positions in these oil and gas companies.
“It seems that Abang Jo is not serious in bringing fairness and justice to the Dayak community. It has been a well-known fact that despite being the majority in the state, the Dayaks have been systematically discriminated by the state government policies in almost every level.
“Their contributions seem to be denied by the state government and the composition in Petros’ BoD proves just another case of lopsided representation and racial imbalance.
“Once again, the majority is being grossly under-represented while the minority is being over-represented.”
Aziz urged the state government, particularly the chief minister, not to delay the inclusion of a non-Muslim Dayak in Petros’ board in order to “shield the state government from accusations of discrimination and marginalisation of the Dayaks as the major ethnic group”.
The Chief Minister’s Office has said the primary objective of setting up Petros was to enable Sarawak to participate in upstream oil and gas development, particularly in the exploration and extraction of oil and gas within Sarawak’s waters.
The initiative is also in line with Sarawak’s goal to create better job opportunities for local talents and attract Sarawak talents that are currently serving outside the state, it added.