80pc locals at Hengyi’s project in 15 years

|     Azlan Othman     |

HENGYI Industries Sdn Bhd, the developer of an oil refinery and aromatics plant at Pulau Muara Besar (PMB), will employ 80 per cent local workforce in 15 years.

Presently, some 180 locals (or 37 per cent of 484 total project workers) have been stationed on the island.

Minister of Energy and Industry, YB Dato Paduka Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein said this when responding to queries by YB Pengiran Haji Mohamed bin Pengiran Haji Osman @ Othman, who is Village Head of Kampong Masjid Lama, Pekan Muara, Sabun and Pelumpong representing Zone 2 of the Brunei-Muara District.

On steps taken to ensure safety and security at PMB, the minister said the matter has been taken seriously and monitoring measures continue to be made to uphold the sovereignty and prosperity of the people and the nation.

A specific committee has been set up to focus on the safety and well-being of the employees comprising 16 enforcement agencies and other stakeholders.

Among the steps taken by the security and enforcement agencies to ensure that the nation’s law is upheld and adhered to include the setting up of a permanent police post on the island which operates around the clock and joint operations with various agencies.

YB Pengiran Haji Mohamed bin Pengiran Haji Osman @ Othman, Legislative Council member and Village Head of Kampong Masjid Lama, Pekan Muara, Sabun and Pelumpong
A section of attendees at the meeting. – PHOTOS: INFOFOTO

Meanwhile, customs and immigration officers are also stationed on the island to control the entry and exit of goods and people while the Marine Police conduct sea patrol.

Briefings on safety and on Brunei’s law and regulations had been conducted by various agencies including the enforcement and security sector such as the police, customs, immigration, Narcotics Control Bureau and Labour Department.

Additionally, meetings with foreign workers at PMB have been held by the police, customs and immigration for them to better understand the country’s laws and regulations.

The Ministry of Home Affairs also conducted a screening of these foreign workers with cooperation from the immigration and labour departments.

On another note, under the Workplace Safety and Health Order 2009, PMB is categorised as a workplace and an alcoholic-drink free zone.

For Hengyi Industries to maximise the use of local workers and local products, the minister said efforts have been made to speed up 80 per cent local workforce target through a joint venture (JV) between the company and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

Through the JV, students are offered scholarship to undertake a Chemical Engineering course in China for one-and-a-half years.

To date, 68 UBD students have been offered a Hengyi scholarship. Hengyi Industries also enrolled 43 students through the Competency Industry Framework (Plant Engineering).

Moreover, the company pledged to give 150 conditional offers of employment to be plant operators through the Centre for Capacity Building.

The first intake of 75 students will begin in July 2018 for a two-year programme.

On the fate of these students (from the Centre of Capacity Building) upon the completion of Hengyi’s project, the minister said the concept of roll-over is practised.

This means the students will be placed at other FDI companies or in construction firms to guarantee job security.

Hengyi Industries will also train some of them to be part of the workforce at the operational phase.

On the long-term contribution of the Hengyi mega-project, YB Dato Paduka Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny said that it will not only provide jobs to locals but would be an economic catalyst to Pekan Muara and its surroundings.

The minister said during the phase of construction of the plant, the number of workers is expected to reach 10,000.

This will in turn enhance the local service industry such as catering, accommodation, transportation, medical, telecommunication and cleaning. Eating outlets and convenience stores in Pekan Muara will also benefit, he said.