KUANTAN - The diesel supply in the country is more than sufficient and the occasional shortages at some petrol stations are due to illegal diversions by syndicates, according to Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek.
He said the ministry found that subsidised diesel (priced at RM2 per litre at the pump after a Government subsidy of about 80 sen) had been channelled by syndicates to some factories that were not entitled to use subsidised diesel.
Hasan said the syndicates made their profit through the difference in pricing, while the factory owners also gained by getting cheaper diesel.
As such, Hasan said the reported shortages of diesel in Klang Valley, Johor Baru and some stations in Selangor were not due to the absolute shortage of supply, and there was no reason for alarm.
Hasan said another reason for the localised shortages was the weaknesses in the delivery mechanism, which has affected supplies to the stations.
He added that the ministry has urged oil suppliers to enhance the efficiency of their delivery system.
"On the side of the ministry, we have implemented new standard operating procedures by ensuring that any application by the petrol station operators to increase the volume of supplies would be done in three days' time.
"Currently, we have managed to reduce the number of petrol stations which failed to get sufficient supplies from 119 to 18 stations.
"Soon, all the stations will get enough supplies accordingly," said Hasan at a press conference after receiving the Peringkat Pertama Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang, which carries the title Datuk Seri.
Hasan also urged consumers at all levels, including factory operators, to be more responsible in curbing the activities of syndicates, which have affected the flow of diesel supplies.
"If the factory operators are more responsible, they would not buy diesel from third parties. However, because of their greed, they do it and consumers are on the losing side. I urge them to report cases of illegal diesel so that we can take immediate action.
"So far, we have managed to solve some 1,089 cases involving smuggled or illegally diverted diesel worth close to RM15mil," Hasan said.
He added that there was no illegal selling of diesel in Sabah and Sarawak, even in the face of increasing use, because of the responsible citizens in both states.