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Give priority to Sabahan O&G workers
Published on: Sunday, January 21, 2018

By Jobless graduate

In your Sunday newspaper two weeks ago, there was a piece by “Sabahan jobless youth”.

I totally agree with the writer for this matter is indeed very true, but has he ever wondered why this is so?

One of the reasons is the big companies here are not giving priority to Sabahans in terms of job opportunities.

A very good example is the major oil and gas companies in Sabah. Take a look at the ratio of Sabahans to non Sabahans employed in these companies.

During the last retrenchment exercises, many contract workers were terminated and many Sabahans were affected because most of them were employed as contract workers while non-Sabahan workers from other states were employed on permanent basis.

What is disappointing is that as soon as these positions become available, fresh non-Sabahan graduates from other states are transferred here to fill up the positions.

Another example is an oil and gas company operating in Sabah which has its only asset in Sabah waters.

The positions are predominantly filled by non-Sabahans.

My point is, the asset belongs to Sabah but why is that the majority of its staff are non Sabahans?

There are locals who are qualified enough to fill up the positions now occupied by non-Sabahans in these major oil & gas companies. The management and executive positions are filled almost totally by non Sabahans.

Even the MD, CEO, COO, GM are non-Sabahans.

Similarly, their contractors and sub-contractors operating in Sabah are not employing Sabahans and many are not even Sabah based companies.

Job positions are indeed advertised in the local newspapers but these have become “just for show”.

Year after year, the positions are advertised and I know many Sabahans have applied but in the end workers from other states are recruited. The reason given is that no Sabahan is qualified to fill the position.

How then can we solve the jobless Sabahan issue if these companies still prefer to employ non-Sabahans?

Many of our local graduates cannot find jobs in their own hometown. Moreover, these positions do not require special skills and experience and I am pretty sure Sabahans are equally capable in performing the duties.

These companies are also spending generous accommodation allowances and home passages which include the family annually for those who come to work in Sabah.

Unfortunately, Sabahans working in KL do not enjoy the same benefits. Why the double standard?

If Sabahans are employed, these companies may save a lot in terms of accommodation and free passage allowances.

They do not have to worry about immigration process like application of work permits, etc.

This is a clear example where Sabahan rights are eroded where the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement) matter is concerned.

There is discrimination in terms of employment especially if the recruitment department are non-Sabahans.

As a result of this discrimination, Sabahans are forced to look for jobs outside Sabah with low salaries.

They do not get housing allowances and they have to work away from their families.

They also need to cough out extra money to come back home regularly to see their families.

The government and politicians should look into this predicament and ensure that priority is given first to our locals for all job positions in Sabah before considering workers from other states and other countries.

Emulate what Sarawak is doing. Companies and Government departments are required to provide justifications why certain positions are not filled by locals.

Save our Sabahan graduates, provide opportunities to them and maintain our rights by giving employment priorities to Sabahans.

Jobless graduate

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