Since the announcement of Saau Kakok as CEO of PETROS and its founding board members, many questions have been raised over its sincerity to include all Sarawakians in its operations. Currently, the composition of the board members have no Iban representation. The management line up has not been revealed. The CEO nor the board has made any statements on its business plans and how it will be inclusive to offer opportunities for all Sarawakians, not just the political elite.
PBB-led GPS clamouring for control of all things Sarawakian has now spread to the oil and gas industry with the setting up of PETROS. The perception given is this move will bring more revenue and development to the state.
If the developments thus far is an indication of things to come, then unfortunately the opposite is true.
The setting up of Petros is seen by many analysts and investors as bringing more uncertainty to the industry, disrupting a proven system that is already in place. RM188 billion has been invested in the development of the upstream oil and gas (O&G) sector in Sarawak to date. 420 Sarawakian companies have registered as Petronas vendors to date. Since 2013, more than RM16 billion worth of jobs have been awarded to Sarawakian companies. Bintulu has been transformed into a production hub for Liquefied Natural Gas and fertilizer.
Will Petros take over these projects? Will Petros commit investment dollars to the sector? Will all Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) currently in force have to be relooked?
More importantly, how will the Ibans and other indigenous communities be given an equal chance to participate in the ‘development’ of the industry by PETROS?
The end game should be kept in mind. The key question is not who asserts control over the state’s O&G sector but how to optimize the current system for more opportunities and development for the people. If PETROS continues as a creation of the GPS government, then the Ibans and other communities will find very little to cheer about.
Pic source: Jabatan Penerangan Negeri Sarawak