KUALA LUMPUR: Enforcement officers from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry are being deployed to petrol stations to ensure there is sufficient fuel on Jan 1.
Its special operations deputy director Datuk Iskandar Halim Sulaiman, said there were about 3,700 stations to be monitored.
"We've issued orders to about 2,300 enforcement officers to ensure petrol and diesel supply is sufficient," said Iskandar, who was visiting petrol stations along the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway,
This follows a statement by the Bumiputera Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Abu Samah Bachik on Dec 25, claiming that consumers were getting worried due to speculation that petrol stations would run out of fuel by Jan 1 as owners were reluctant to increase stockpiles before the month Jan 1.
"For us, this is a dangerous statement, which might cause panic among consumers because on Jan 1, many people will be using their cars and the roads and on Jan 2, school starts again after the holidays," Iskandar said.
"Petrol and diesel are scheduled items under the Control of Supplies Act 1961, and are also important commodities.
If there's any shortage, there will be chaos," Iskandar said on Thursday.
Failure to ensure sufficient fuel supply on their licensed premises, or closing petrol stations or halting sales, he said, would cause the operators to run afoul of the Control of Supplies Regulations 1974, and if found guilty could result in a first-time fine of RM1mil, followed by RM3mil for the second offence and the possibility of losing their licences.
Iskandar added that notices had been sent out to remind operators not to run afoul of the law by hoarding or refusing to sell fuel.
"We've sent out about two-thirds of the notices. Even rural petrol stations will get a notice and many have acknowledged receipt of the notice so they can't say they weren't aware. It's in their license conditions too," Iskandar said.
Petrol station operators were reportedly reluctant to increase their tanks' storage by the end of this month following a statement by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to implement a monthly pricing mechanism from Jan 1 onwards.
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