I LIKE travelling and will go on trips either with my family or friends. This, in a way, helps to support Cuti Cuti Malaysia, the government initiative to promote domestic tourism.
I was on a week-long vacation last week with my family, visiting several interesting places in Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.
On Sept 1, I was travelling from Ipoh to Awana Kijal in Terengganu using the Gerik-Jeli highway.
At about 10.20am, I stopped at a petrol kiosk near Jeli intending to fill my tank. A pump attendant told me there was a power failure and that he would try to switch on the stand-by generator. After 10 minutes of waiting, I was told the generator could not be started.
I thought this was an isolated case and drove on towards Machang, making a few stops at several petrol kiosks along the way.
I was shocked to find that the kiosks were also affected by the power failure and either did not have stand-by generators or these generators were not working.
I also noticed several motorists queuing at some petrol stations in Machang. Apparently, they were also almost out of fuel and were hoping the electricity would be restored in a short while.
I worried about having to spend the night in the car with my two grown-up children because I could hardly see any hotels in this small town.
Luckily, I still had some petrol in the tank and I decided to continue with my journey to Jerteh in Terengganu.
To minimise fuel usage, I switched off the air-conditioner and drove slowly but shortly after, I was running on reserve petrol.
By that time, I was praying hard for a petrol kiosk that was working.
Soon after reaching Jerteh, with perhaps another 10km worth of petrol, I was relieved to find some kiosks that were operating on stand-by generators.
The experience almost ruined my holiday and I cannot imagine what would have happened if the power breakdown had lasted longer.
It would certainly be a nightmare for tourists caught in such a situation, and bad publicity for the country as a result.
As such, the Government should look into introducing regulations to compel petrol kiosk operators to have stand-by generators and maintain them in good working condition.
UPSET, Puchong, Selangor
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