Bid to cut diesel smuggling


  • Nation
  • Friday, 07 Mar 2003

BY MENG YEW CHOONG

GUA MUSANG: Attempts to smuggle diesel to the areas near the Thai border from other parts of Kelantan are rife to the extent that the Government has to monitor petrol stations located as far as 200km from the border, said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Department. 

According to the deputy state director Alwi Abdul Hamid, the ministry had recently asked all bulk purchasers of diesel in the Gua Musang district like construction companies and logging camps to obtain a special permit first before they were allowed to purchase fuel from petrol stations there. 

He said this was to restrict fuel sales to curb the smuggling of fuel, especially diesel, to Thailand. Diesel there costs 30% more (RM1.06 to RM1.10 per litre) compared to Gua Musang, where the pump price for diesel is at RM0.802 per litre with the latest price revision. 

“Our diesel is of better quality than that of Thailand, and it can be sold at a price which is higher than the pump price there,” said Md Nawawi Abd Rahman, head of the ministry's Kuala Krai office that oversees activities for the Gua Musang district.  

However, strict enforcement by authorities had caused some petrol stations here to overreact by refusing to sell to those who come to buy fuel in containers, even when they are as small as four litres.  

Chairman of the Gua Musang Chinese Chamber of Commerce Lee Weng Chong said it was unreasonable for the authorities to expect farmers and contractors who worked deep in the jungle not to purchase fuel in quantities greater than what normal consumers buy when refuelling their vehicles.  

“It is illogical for me to bring my generator set from the jungle to refuel it,” said farmer Ng Hock, whose view was shared by many others, including petrol station owners.  

Citing a case, he said there had been cases of motorcyclists who ran out of fuel being forced to push their machines all the way to the station because of this directive.  

However, Nawawi clarified that the confusion here had been sorted out since then. “We paid a visit to the dealers last week, and explained the situation to them.”  

Alwi said he had received information that some people had misused the special permits issued to them here by purchasing lots of diesel with the intention of reselling them to foreigners. 

Currently, the Ministry forbids petrol stations located within 16km from the Thai border from selling more than 20 litres of fuel per transaction for foreign cars to curb the outflow of fuel, which is subsidised for Malaysian consumers. 

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