Ministry working towards uniform fuel prices in urban, rural areas by year-end — Chong

Chong (centre) and Syed Zainal (left) presenting the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) license to Petronas Sungai Maong station owner Tang Yiew Foo.

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Mar 2: Fuel prices in rural Sarawak, such as in Kapit and Song, will be standardised with those sold in urban areas by the end of this year.

Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said the federal government had discussed with Petronas’ marketing division on this issue, and they had agreed to cooperate.

Chong said due to the difficulty of transporting petrol and diesel to the rural areas, the cost was also relatively high.

He revealed that although there is an official Petronas station in Kapit, when supply is not enough, the alternative fuel station would have to supply the more expensive fuel to the people, sometimes up to 9 sen more than the standard price.

In Song, Chong said fuel prices might go up as much as 15 sen compared to the standard prices.

“That should not be the case, so we are working towards having uniformed prices. We are going to look into that and implement within this year.

“I have also discussed with Petronas Dagang Bhd chief executive officer Dato Sri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Tahir, and he also agreed to look into this on the supply side so that we will get a win-win situation.

“But most importantly is that the people in these rural areas will have access to fuel with prices that we urban areas are paying,” he told reporters after opening the new Sungai Maong Petronas Station at Jalan Batu Kawa here this morning.

(From right) Petronas Sungai Maong station owner Tan Yiew Foo, Chong and Syed Zainal taking part in the lion dance blessing ceremony of the new Petronas station.

In addition, Chong said his ministry was also making an effort to set up more fuel stations in the rural areas of Sarawak to overcome supply shortage woes.

“Sarawak is a very big state and also sparsely populated. So, I think there are a lot of rural areas that do not have the service of petrol stations. But we have what we call mini-stations but still, the coverage is not so great.

“So, this is one of the tasks that the ministry is going to do this year — to set up more petrol stations, mini-stations or what we call the portable container system to service the rural people to sell petrol and diesel at the same prices as the urban areas,” he said.

Chong added that the present government’s policy encouraged cooperation with the private sector to promote a more business-friendly environment in the country. — DayakDaily