MIRI: The authorities must take steps to ensure that fuel suppliers in Sarawak do not artificially hike their prices in rural areas to take advantage of GE14.
These price hikes have happened before during parliamentary and state elections, as unscrupulous suppliers go out to make a quick buck.
Former Baram councillor Anthony Laing told The Star that the authorities must carry out strict checks on the fuel situation during the campaign period and on polling day on May 9.
“There have been cases where diesel was sold at RM5 per litre (double the usual amount) in remote Baram settlements.
“During election time, it may even go up to RM8 per litre.
“These suppliers used the excuse that there was a shortage of fuel,” he said.
Laing added that even private transporters took advantage and charged passengers exorbitant fees in previous elections.
“Going from Miri to Ulu Baram can cost up to RM350 per person for a one-way trip,” he said.
The Federal Government, through the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry, has been subsidising the cost of transporting fuel into rural districts in Sarawak and Sabah in an effort to standardise fuel prices with urban areas.
Nonetheless, there is still widespread fuel price hikes in rural regions where enforcement is still lacking.
Due to the huge size of rural Sarawak, filled with rugged terrain, mountains and dense jungles, the ministry cannot monitor such places all the time.