Saturday October 20, 2012
Curbing fuel rip-offs
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: Tighter control on the sales of diesel and petrol has been enforced on local petrol stations to prevent illegal sales of fuels.
Fuel suppliers have been instructed by the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry to deliver the proper quotas based on the normal or average daily sales registered by the respective stations.
Previously, the managers or supervisors of petrol stations could just call the oil companies and ask for extra fuel as demanded by the station management. Now, this practice has been forbidden, it is learnt.
The Star office here found out about this matter yesterday.
Members of the public said that some petrol stations in the city and its outskirts had run out of fuel late at night. Fuel stations in the city alone sell up to eight million litres of fuel per day, second only to Bintulu.
Yesterday, The Star spoke to the ministry’s enforcement chief for northern Sarawak, Zakaria Awang, on this latest development where he acknowledged that the tighter control had been enforced.
“Yes, we have enforced a tighter monitoring system to control the amount of fuel sold by the fuel stations. We have to stop them from selling fuel illegally.
“We have also reduced the quota of fuel that can be delivered by oil companies to these stations. The quota that can be delivered daily is based on the actual amount of sales registered by the stations. We check the records of actual sales and then set a quota of fuel that the supplier can deliver."
Zakaria said the quota cannot be changed by the fuel station or the suppliers without the ministry’s approval.
As to why the tighter control measures are necessary, he said it had been found that some fuel stations had sold excessive amounts of diesel and petrol to those who are not eligible to buy the subsidised fuel.
These illegal sales had resulted in these stations raking in indecent extra profits.
“Previously, some of these stations simply ask for huge amounts of fuel and then sell a big portion illegally. They simply called the oil companies every time they want more supplies and that they had run out of fuel. This practice is no more. There must be very strict control,” he said.
On the fuel supply situation in the interior of Baram where there was a severe shortage last month, Zakaria said the problem had been overcome.
Last month, some 20,000 people living between Marudi town and Long Lama town were short of diesel when the supply ran dry.
The suppliers and contractors here were caught up in some transportation woes that resulted in disruption of the deliveries.
Zakaria yesterday said the problems had been sorted out and the daily deliveries had resumed.