Probe reveals thugs' hands in diesel scam

  • Nation
  • Friday, 10 Dec 2004

MIRI: Several petrol station operators in northern Sarawak have been intimidated by thugs to illegally sell government-subsidised diesel to certain people who are not entitled to it. 

This was discovered by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry when it investigated a serious shortage of diesel in Bintulu and Miri divisions in the past two months. 

The ministry found that the shortage had been due in part to excessive amounts of the subsidised fuel being redirected illegally. 

The investigations showed that some of these buyers were using thugs to force the petrol station owners to sell large amount of subsidised fuel to them, said the head of the ministry’s Miri branch office, Balwant Singh.  

“Last month, a station manager lodged a police report following some serious threats,” he said when interviewed yesterday. 

Subsidised diesel, sold at 56.56 sen per litre in Sarawak, are meant only for the commercial sector like public transport operators, including passenger bus companies, riverboat and cargo transport operators. 

Members of the public and industrial concerns that are not entitled to the subsidy are only allowed to buy industrial rate diesel, which costs 82.8 sen per litre. 

In a related development, the Bintulu-Miri fuel supply has been re-established after a landslip at the 140th kilometre of the Miri-Bintulu stretch of the Pan-Borneo Highway caused a two-day disruption. 

Balwant Singh said part of the highway had been patched up. It would take a few more days for repairs to be completed. 

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