No ‘staff reduction’ exercise, performance evaluation continues

‘There is currently no plan to undertake another exercise of that scale’


Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has denied a blog posting claiming the national oil company will embark on another “staff reduction” exercise and axe 5,000 employees next year.

The energy company “categorically denies the blogger’s allegation” and stresses last year’s business review exercise had affected 2,300 jobs.

“There is currently no plan to undertake another exercise of that scale. Petronas, however, is committed to building a high-performing work culture where manpower optimisation and functional streamlining are an ongoing process requiring greater capability and accountability, as well as more stringent performance evaluation among its employees,” the oil company said in a statement.

Petronas was referring to blogger Syed Akbar Ali on his “OutSyed the Box” site claiming the energy company was planning to terminate 5,000 employees next year.

Petronas recently reported a 311% jump in net profit for the April to June 2017 period, rising to RM7 billion from the RM1.7 billion recorded in the same quarter a year ago.

Profit was boosted with lower net impairment on assets and higher average prices for all its products.

Higher global oil prices and the success of various costcutting measures including capital expenditure cut and staff reduction had benefitted the energy company, eliminating the need to trim further the now 51,000 staff.

Petronas CEO Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin had previously reported that the oil company would not under take further staff rationalisation programmes but instead continue to monitor performance.

Corporate uses performance evaluation for promotion purposes or to phase out non-performers and reduce redundancies.

Despite the higher average oil price, the energy oil company is staring at substantial provisions for its now deferred liquified natural gas (LNG) plant in Canada. The company invested US$29 billion (RM121.57 billion) for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in Canada. Petronas previously owned 61% of the project with other firms like China Petrochemical Corp, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co, Indian Oil Corp and Brunei National Petroleum Co owning the rest of the stakes.

Petronas was also cautious on the crude oil price prospect for the rest of the year despite posting a strong growth for the first half of the year, saying the sector remained volatile.