Newsroom experience: The Star’s chief news editor Devid Rajah (left) and group chief editor June H.L. Wong showing Hasan (seated) and Alias (right) how the editorial team works at Menara Star.
PETALING JAYA: Petrol stations in hotspots around the country will be monitored in a large-scale operation to fight petrol and diesel smuggling syndicates starting next month.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad said 3,358 petrol stations would be monitored, focusing on those in hotspots.
“This include hotspots along borders, at ports as well as industrial areas near the sea.
“We will also monitor the trend of movement at petrol stations, involving oil tankers and lorries that go in and out of industrial areas as well as illegal jetties that have become a target for smugglers,” he said after a tour of Menara Star here yesterday.
Alias was part of an entourage from the ministry, led by Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek.
Also present were deputy secretary general Datuk Zaidon Asmuni and enforcement division director-general Roslan Mahayuddin.
The illegal jetties, he said, were mostly located along the Malaysia-Thailand border and other borders in peninsular Malaysia.
The operation will involve agencies such as the police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Armed Forces, the Immigration and Customs Departments, the Anti-Smuggling Unit and Rela.
“The Government suffers RM1.2bil in losses each year due to the smuggling of subsidised diesel and petrol,” Alias said.
Last year, the Government only managed to confiscate around RM7mil worth of smuggled diesel and petrol.
“So, we have to step up our operations by monitoring the hotspots,” he said.
Among the modus operandi by smugglers are modified oil tanks allowing vehicles to load up to “200 or 300 litres” of fuel.
Swift action, Alias warned, would be taken against petrol stations found to have been involved in smuggling activities.
“We will terminate or suspend their licence, and instruct them to stop their operations,” he said, adding that action would be taken under the Petroleum Development Act and Control of Supplies Act.
The ministry, he said, was also reviewing the guidelines for the sale of subsidised petrol and diesel at petrol stations.
On another matter, Hasan said the media played an important role in disseminating information and educating the public on government policies, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which would be implemented on April 1, 2015.
“Some 160 countries have already implemented it and we are one of the last in the Asean region.
“We are going in the right direction,” he said.