Sarawak assistant minister denies Dayaks pressured chief minister for non-Muslim Dayak in Petros board

Abdullah Saidol

KUCHING Sarawak Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Abdullah Saidol has denied Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg’s decision to have a non-Muslim Dayak on the Petroleum Sarawak Berhad’s (Petros) board was due to pressure from the Dayak community.

The chief minister did not decide to add another member to Petros’ board due to pressure from social media, he said when responding to questions at the launch of Tegas digital innovation hub in Kuching today.

DAP and some small Dayak political parties raised the question why no Dayaks were picked to be board members though DAP later retracted their claim after finding Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah, who is also Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd chief executive officer (CEO), is a Dayak.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah on Saturday night, a day after the chief minister announced the names of the board members, disclosed he had been instructed to scout around for a non-Muslim bumiputera to be on the board.

Uggah was reported as saying “there was need to appoint at least one non-Muslim board member as there were comments spreading around on social media lamenting that the non-Muslim Bumiputera community of Sarawak were not represented in the state-owned oil and gas company”.

Abdullah however, said the deputy chief minister’s comments “had been misconstrued”.

He denied there was such a pressure.

“It was never due to pressure from social media,” he said.

He said the decision to have a non Muslim Dayak “was planned before the board members were introduced”.

He said when the chief minister made the announcement last Friday, he “was still waiting for a response from a few potential board members”.

Former state secretary Tan Sri Hamid Bugo was named as chairman of Petros, with Datuk Mohammad Medan, Sarawak Energy Bhd group chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili, state director of the Public Works Department Zuraimi Sabki and former managing director of Shell Gas and Power Malaysia Heng Hock Cheng as members of the board.

All are Sarawakians.

The chief minister said he had picked Hamid as chairman as he had once served with Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd in Bintulu.

The anticipated announcement of its chief executive officer went unanswered and Abang Johari said Petros is now on a headhunt for one and other key management personnel to enable it to be operational ready by the first quarter of next year. –