(Source: http://www.theborneopost.com/news/sabah)

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman would like to see more Sabahan youths applying for the training programs provided by Petronas so that they can fill in the vacancies in the state’s oil and gas sector.

Musa said Petronas is committed to providing training and employing Sabahans in its SAMUR and SOGIP projects in the state.

“But I am disappointed because of the lack interest among our youths in these trainings to the extent that sometime there are not enough trainees for the courses,” he said during the question and answer session of the State Assembly sitting yesterday.

“The training centre has been set up and the programs prepared, so I urge all Sabahan youths who are interested to apply for the training so that we can ensure that we have a steady supply of skilled manpower for SOGIP and SAMUR,” he said.

Musa said this when replying to state opposition chief Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin’s supplementary question.

The Klias assemblyman said that he had received complaints, especially from people in Sipitang that Petronas is not giving much opportunity to local entrepreneurs in the SAMUR and SOGIP projects.

This includes the supplying of workers to the projects, Lajim said, adding that these people claimed that the workers were now brought in directly from Indonesia and he asked the state government to verify the claim.

Musa in his reply said that the claim of foreign workers being given precedence before locals was not very accurate as Petronas had been told since the beginning to give priority to Sabahans.

“This includes to fill in the job vacancies and in fact many local youths are employed there in the two projects. I have also asked Petronas to also give priority to Sabahans for high level posts, not only rank and file.

“But I admit that we lack skilled workers in this sector and in view of this I have asked that our youths be given training so that they can obtain a degree and be employed to fill in these vacancies,” he said.

Earlier when replying to Sugut assemblyman Datuk James Ratib’s question on the steps taken by the government to ensure the investment goals of the oil and gas industry can be achieved despite the weak global economy, Musa said that it would continue to strengthen its cooperation with Petronas to develop the oil and gas industry, especially the petrochemical industry.

At the same time the state government will be more aggressive in bringing in investors to invest on SOGIP, he said adding, “I believe that despite the slowdown in the global economy, oil will continue to be the ‘black gold’ that will have high demand in the future and continue to contribute significantly to the state’s economy.”