Miri City hit by diesel shortage

MIRI: Miri City experienced a shortage of diesel yesterday in at least three petrol stations, causing hardship to some consumers.

Some customers even called The Borneo Post to find out the cause of the shortage, and called for concerted efforts to prevent its recurrence.

Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) chief enforcement officer Thomas Chua Kee Chuam, when contacted by The Borneo Post, confirmed the shortage.

However, he said stocks
had been replenished in the afternoon, explaining that the shortage was due to the delay of shipment which caused the depot at Kuala Baram to run out of stock.

“Our enforcement officers had made spot checks on at least eight petrol stations in the city including at Pujut, Senadin and the city centre.

“Our records show that the temporary shortage only involved diesel and the stocks had been made available later today at the three petrol stations.”

“Consumers need not worry as such situation is only temporary. Every effort will be made to ensure enough supply. Our enforcement officers will continue to monitor the situation including making routine check tonight.”

He added that his office would work closely with the suppliers to find a solution to the problem.

Miri requires an average of
five million litres of diesel and
six million litres of petrol monthly.

Meanwhile, faced with the same diesel shortage in Bintulu, its MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing held a special meeting with representatives from Shell and Petronas and eleven petrol stations together with Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) in Bintulu yesterday.

During the meeting, both Petronas and Shell confirmed that there was no shortage of diesel.

Both the oil companies said they had enough stock but the quota supplied to various petrol stations had been exhausted thus causing the shortage.

However, Tiong refuted their claims and alleged that the illegal sale of fuel by individuals and companies was the main cause of the shortage.

“There are at least 200 lorry-loads of diesel being transported out to the sea and sold to Singapore and Papua New Guinea. According to my knowledge, part of the diesel is government subsidised diesel for fishermen.”

He claimed that these illegal operations were carried out in Miri, Sibu, Kuching and even Johor.

“This is part of the reason for the shortage. The other reason is that due to rapid industrial developments in Bintulu in the past 10 years, at least 60 per cent of the state’s lorries and heavy machinery are operating in Bintulu, thus the demand has greatly increased.”

Tiong warned the illegal operators to stop their activities immediately or face stern action by the authorities.

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