KOTA TINGGI - An international diesel smuggling syndicate that had been raking in millions worth of profit by selling diesel to foreign ships have been busted by the Malaysian enforcement agencies near Pulau Lima along Sungai Rengit here.
Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Ministry enforcement (development) deputy director Datuk Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said the syndicate sold the subsidies diesel at US$1 (S$1.30) per litre to foreign ships in Malaysian waters.
"Initial investigations showed that the syndicate had raked in more than RM 11.48 million (S$4.4 million) in profits," he told a press conference at Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal here yesterday.
The syndicate, which also uses locals in their activity, bought the subsidised diesel at RM 2 (S$0.80) per litre from petrol stations around the area and transferred it to small vessels waiting at private jetties before the diesel was transported to bigger ships waiting in the open seas.
"In the operation, we seized four vessels found with 3.7 million litres of what we believe is subsidised diesel worth RM 7.4 million (S$2.9 million) at around 5.20pm on May 26."
"The diesel including the four vessels are worth more than RM 50 million (S$20 million). This is the biggest haul this year so far," he said, adding that the syndicate had been active in the northern and southern area in Malaysian waters for the past several months.
Iskandar said the four vessels with 52 crew from various countries including Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, had been detained to assist with the investigations under the Control Supply Act 1961.
In KUALA LUMPUR The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has urged the Government to take stern action against the head of relevant agencies for failing to deter diesel smuggling. The committee also suggested that the agencies, including the Customs and Excise Department, the enforcement division of the KPDNKK and the Anti-Smuggling Unit be revamped to make them more effective.
PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed in a statement yesterday said the committee also welcomed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed's call for a review of the current diesel subsidy scheme.
"We urge the government especially the Finance Ministry and KPDNKK to take immediate action to put a stop to such activity."
"Maybe it is time that the Government come out with a new mechanism to counter this problem, including making it compulsory for all enforcement personnel to declare their assets," he said.
He said PAC would be meeting with Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang over the matter.