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ARKIB : 01/11/2004

No diesel shortage in Sarawak, says Jamaluddin

KUCHING Oct 31 - There is no shortage of diesel in Sarawak though several petrol stations are reported to have run out of diesel stock, State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Enforcement Director Jamaluddin Othman said Sunday.

He said oil companies had given the assurance that there was no shortage as they had enough diesel supply for all petrol stations in the state.

"There is no shortage at all. The main reason some of the petrol stations ran out of diesel is due to over-buying by lorry operators," he told Bernama.

Jamaluddin said some of the lorry operators had modified their diesel tanks to be much bigger and this had caused some of the petrol stations to deplete their diesel stocks quickly.

"This thing happened in Bintulu but we managed to control it and now it has spread to Miri. Action has been taken to rectify the situation," he said.

He said the enforcement division had no power to arrest lorry operators who modified the fuel tanks to buy diesel in big volumes.

"Maybe the Road Transport Department can do something as the operators may have violated the Road Transport Act by doing excessive modifying," he said.

He said motorists, especially those owning diesel-powered vehicles, should not fear of diesel shortage.

"For those who intend to travel during the festive season, we can give an assurance that the supply of diesel at petrol stations is enough, no need to panic or worry," he said.

He said motorists could report to his division immediately if petrol stations in their areas put up "disel habis" notices so that investigations could be carried out.

It was reported here on Saturday that the residents of Sarawak's "oil town" Miri are frustrated as the town's 14 petrol stations had run out of diesel.

They were angry that despite assurances from the government that there was diesel shortage, petrol stations still carried "disel habis" signs.

According to a petrol station proprietor, the oil company delivered 10,000 litres per station per day of the government-subsidised diesel which was sold at the pump price of 82 sen per litre compared to the non-subsidised rate of RM1.62 per litre.

Petrol stations have started to limit purchases to not more than RM20 or in some cases RM30 at one time.

Bintulu experienced similar problem early this month but quick intervention by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs officials prevented the problem from getting serious while in Kuching the problem occurred early this week.

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