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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fuel shortage: Sabah minister wants action

A local state minister says it is suspicious that petrol stations had used up their quota for subsidised diesel when there is no significant increase in demand in Sabah.
KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah state government minister has demanded the cancellation of licences of those abusing the government’s fuel subsidies immediately to end shortages once and for all.
Among those targeted by Special Tasks Minister Teo Chee Kang were petrol stations and others granted permits to deal with government fuel subsidies that have been misused for years.
Teo, who believed this is the best way to end the exploitation of the system, made the call after a briefing session with Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Hassan Malek at the Sabah gas terminal in Sepanggar here yesterday.
Also present was Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Jainab Ahmad Ayid.
Teo said he had received information that certain parties had purchased subsidised diesel in petrol stations and subsequently profited from selling the subsidised diesel to industries or through smuggling the subsidised diesel overseas.
“The information is that some unscrupulous parties modified their vehicles to expand their fuel tanks, and then purchased thousands of litres of subsidised diesel at petrol stations and making a profit out of it,” he said.
The Tanjong Kapor assemblyman noted that this was not the first time that the state faced a diesel shortage towards the end of the month and that the shortage had affected several areas in Sabah previously.
Motorists have also noted that petrol stations frequently exhausted their quotas of subsidised diesel a day or two before the end of the month in various parts of the state and the current shortage had even affected the West Coast.
No significant increase in demand
Teo said it was suspicious that petrol stations had used up their quota for subsidised diesel on July 22 when the demand for diesel did not significantly increase in Sabah.
On the government’s announcement to increase by eight million litres the subsidised diesel quota to Sabah to address the shortage, Teo said that this was merely a short term solution.
He said a long term solution would be to carry out stringent enforcement and act against petrol stations that sell subsidised diesel to unscrupulous parties.
“Increasing diesel quota during the shortage will only allow the unscrupulous parties to gain more profit,” he said.
Concurring with Teo’s point of view, Hassan promised to instruct his ministry officers to be more stringent in carrying out their enforcement duties.
Hassan also assured that his ministry would act against officers who did not fulfill their duties.
Teo thanked Hassan for flying in from Kuala Lumpur to gain a deeper understanding of the diesel shortage and to discuss solutions.
“This shows that Hassan Malek is a responsible minister who is willing to listen to the people and he is determined to uncover the crux of the issue in search for a solution,” he said.

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