Thursday, June 26, 2008


No petrol stations will stop selling, says Ministry


The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has assured the public that no petrol stations in the State will suspend fuel sales. The Senior Assistant Director of Enforcement Division in the Ministry, Balwant Singh A/L Pritam Singh said the fuel dealers in Sabah have given the same assurance. “The Ministry will take stern action against any dealers who refuse to sell, or deny in possession of the controlled items (petrol and diesel),” he said, adding that dealers who refuse to sell fuels will be charged under the Control of Supply Act 1961. The charge carries a maximum of two years’ jail or a RM100,000 fine. On Tuesday, Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association President Charles Soong said they had stopped accepting credit cards for the purchase of fuels in line with the national Association’s directive in its bid to get the Government to meet their demand for an increase in their commission to an acceptable level. However, Soong said yesterday the Association had decided not to proceed with the action and would accept credit cards as usual following the mad fuel rush on Tuesday. The rumours about petrol stations in Sabah going to close for five days triggered widespread panic buying with vehicles lining up all the way from the roads to fuel stations, causing massive traffic congestions as a result. Balwant said the decision not to accept credit cards is up to the dealers themselves and the Ministry cannot order the dealers to accept any modes of payment other than by cash. He nevertheless advised the dealers to cooperate with the Ministry and not to take any action that will burden the consumers while fighting for their own interest. “The commissions issue is between the dealers and the Finance Ministry, and we assume that the Association’s plan to strike was probably related to the issue,” he said. When asked about the action that will be taken against those who spread the rumours, Balwant said the police will take action against the person, who will be detained under Internal Security Act (ISA) for making a false report. He advised the public not to believe in rumours and to think rationally and act wisely if they ever encounter such occurrences in the future. “The public should find believable source to ask and not to act immaturely,” he said, adding that the public can call the Ministry’s office on 088-4845 00 (office line) or 1-300-88-6800 (toll free) for any query on the matter.