When a component of Malaysia no longer sees itself as Malaysian, then inevitably problems will arise and tensions will flare. Take for instance the current ‘proxy war’ between the state of Sarawak and the Federal Government of Malaysia.
Right now, the brunt of the attacks is Petronas. A couple of months ago, it was the issue of devolution of power and the absolute autonomy of state.
Back in January 2016, Adenan Satem pledged to demand a more autonomous Sarawak should he be given a strong mandate to lead the state for the next five years. Using that statement as the campaign message in the subsequent state election in May 2016, he garnered a strong win over the opposition.
By July 2016, Adenan and the beleaguered Najib Razak held talks to bequeath more power to Sarawak.
Pressure is on for Federal Government to fulfil its promises. The weakened Barisan Nasional in West Peninsular is now being blackmailed by the politicians in Sarawak. Without a doubt, should any of the promises made were not fulfilled, the good relationship forged since the 1960s will disintegrate.
There were cracks in the Federation of Malaysia during the Sarawak Constitutional Crisis in 1966, and these cracks will emerge once again if the Federal Government is not intelligent enough in handling the situation.
Sarawak government and its political players are playing the victim card everytime they decide to twist the arms of Federal Government.
But these are all a charade. They claim that their people are still poor eventhough their state is rich in resources. On the contrary, some Sarawakian politicians are among the wealthiest people in the whole of Malaysia. Malaysians would be more sympathetic if Sarawakian politicians are seen to be comparatively poorer than their West Malaysian counterparts. But Adenan Satem for instance, travels in a private jet almost to everywhere he goes.
We don’t see any other public officials, Menteri Besar or Chief Ministers behaving as opulent as that. The hypocrisy is almost as worse as their cries of ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’.
Yesterday, the MTUC even chastised the state government for its hypocritical stance against Petronas. In a statement, they said:
Sarawak MTUC said the state government was only concerned about protecting senior and connected Sarawakians and their firms, noting it had not heeded MTUC’s numerous complaints on other worker issues.
“The state government is so quick to protect 13 senior executives but at the same time turns a blind eye to the tens of thousands of foreign workers that are depriving ordinary Sarawakians of decent jobs with decent wages.
“These are really foreigners, including North Koreans,” said Sarawak MTUC secretary Andrew Lo in a statement.
Almost everyone in Malaysia knows the reason behind this, and the MTUC made it clear when they succinctly stated:
“Politics should not get in the way of hiring or firing. Businesses should not be dictated by some politicians for their own political and business agendas.
“Is all the noise over Petronas’s employment policy just a ruse to get more Petronas contracts for connected companies?” Sarawak MTUC Secretary Andrew Lo asked in a statement released today.
He said all recent news reports on the issue also risked creating a negative image of those interested in investing in Sarawak.
Speaking on the Petronas retrenchment exercise which saw a number of employees, including 13 senior executives, made redundant, Lo said the national oil company’s actions were nothing new.
“Given the current low oil prices and changing financial conditions, such redundancies are to be expected.”
The MTUC statement also called for Chief Minister Adenan Satem to look beyond just trying to protect the interests of 13 senior executives laid off by Petronas, while “turning a blind eye to the tens of thousands of foreign workers depriving ordinary Sarawakians of a decent job with decent wages.”
Due to the low oil prices, it is common for oil and gas companies to restructure their finances and cut costs. Petronas had announced the cutting of 1,000 jobs way back in March 2016 to meet the challenges in the oil and gas industry.
How selfish for the Sarawak state government to think that Petronas is only to get Sarawakians? Out of a thousand, how many other staff from other states which were laid off? Did other states make any noise?
Each retrenched Petronas staff were offered voluntary separation scheme which probably run to hundreds of thousands ringgit in compensation.
Perhaps Adenan Satem and James Masing need to also check on how many Sarawakians have Shell and Petron terminated for the past two years.
Regardless, all these greed and silo way of thinking won’t make Malaysia great. People from West Malaysia had sacrificed their time, energy, effort and family in order to serve Sarawak for the past 50 years.
We had doctors, teachers, soldiers, engineers, and the whole gamut of professionals from West Malaysia that spent their lives in Sarawak – helping the sick, protecting its borders, teaching their children – without any qualms; because all of us see ourselves as Malaysians.
Then, there were no such calls like – ‘These doctors and teachers are stealing Sarawakians jobs!’
The West Malaysians never cried foul when Sarawakians come to work in Kuala Lumpur or Pulau Pinang or Johor Bahru. Certainly they don’t see it as other people stealing their jobs, because people in West Malaysia don’t see Sarawkians as outsiders. We are all Malaysians after all.
Redeployment, restructuring and re-positioning of staff within a company is a normal exercise. If Sarawak is stubborn, and its politicians are blatantly greedy, Sarawakians will suffer in the long run. If they continue to show their selfishness and hostility towards their own Malaysian company, then the people in West Malaysia will not be too friendly towards Sarawak. How long should Sarawak politicians be pampered everytime they throw a tantrum?
Does Sarawak deserve more than the rest of Malaysians?
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