By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 2: Motorists are urged to report any petrol stations that hoard or refuse to sell fuel following a federal government’s decision to lower the price of petrol due to cheaper crude oil prices worldwide.
However, the adjustment to adopt a weekly float system to determine fuel prices at an optimal level has been put on hold following protest from the Petroleum Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM).
Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Sarawak deputy director Mohd Nawawi Abdul Rahman pointed out that under the Control of Supplies Act 1961, petrol station retailers must ensure sufficient supply of fuel at all time.
“Petrol stations claimed to have run out of fuel, closed their premises suddenly, have faulty pumps and various other technical problems can happen when government revised the price of fuel,” he told reporters after conducting checks at a petrol station in Kuching-Kota Samarahan Expressway here.
“When fuel prices are lowered, they (operators) are those who would refuse to replenish stocks, and when prices increased, they would close the premises early.”
On the check, Mohd Nawawi revealed that the operation was carried out across the state to ensure petrol station dealers complied with conditions stipulated under the retail licence for petrol sale, particularly in ensuring enough fuel supply.
The ministry’s 202 enforcement officers in the state, he said, had been instructed to check on all 235 petrol stations in Sarawak to ensure there was sufficient fuel in the market.
“On the checks conducted throughout Sarawak, no offence has been detected so far under the Control of Supplies Act 1961, Weights and Measures Act 1972 and Trade Description Act 2011,” he added.
Ministry of Finance (MoF), he informed, is holding a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today to look into the concerns of PDAM over the government’s decision to revise fuel prices on a weekly basis.
“We note that dealers who bought supplies at high prices would suffer losses if the prices go down continuously. So, the government is trying to a find an amicable solution so that everyone will benefit from this adjustment,” he said.
The ministry, he assured, would take action and investigate all genuine complaints received to ensure that retailers did not flout the law.
“Things viral fast in the social media nowadays, and in the end, it could affect the industry and rights of consumers, but only certain parties benefit. So, be responsible and ensure the news is accurate before viraling it,” he added.
On rumours that fuel supply was cut in Kapit, Mohd Nawawi explained that the town had not run out of supply except challenges in the delivery of supply that will take time from Tanjung Manis, which depended on the waterways.
“There are only two petrol stations in Kapit, one is Petronas and another unbranded station, which has sufficient supply but is charging 10 sen more than the fixed fuel prices as the operator has to bear certain costs on its own, including subsidy. So, this caused consumers to queue up buying fuel at Petronas, which is 10 sen cheaper,” he explained.
“We believe with road infrastructure ready, transportation of supply will be better compared to waterways, and we are also looking into how petrol companies can take over the unbranded station.”
During the check earlier on, KPDNHEP officers measured the fuel levels at the Shell station under Zuna Enterprise to ensure consumers get the accurate volume of petrol for every sen paid.
Shell Zuna Enterprise proprietor Razuna Mahidi was present.
Complaints could be submitted to the ministry via WhatsApp at 019-2794317, by phone to 1800-886-800 or via the Ez ADU KPDNHEP smartphone app. — DayakDaily