Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fuel-buying frenzy at M'sia border

Fuel-buying frenzy at M'sia border
31 May, 2008

BUKIT KAYU HITAM, MALAYSIA: Thais are visiting different petrol kiosks here to fill up the tanks of their vehicles with either petrol or diesel, emptying them when they get across the border before returning to this border town for a refill. They are hoarding petrol and diesel before the authorities start imposing the ruling which does not allow them to fill up their tanks with government-subsidised fuel within a 50km radius of the border with effect from Monday.

Currently, each Thai vehicle is allowed to pump RM30 of petrol or diesel at a petrol station.

Several petrol kiosk operators here and in Changlun near the Malaysia-Thai border have reported repeat buyers.

Despite a postponement of the implementation of the ruling to Monday, Thai vehicles are still coming in droves to fill up petrol or diesel near the border town here and in Padang Besar, Perlis.

Earlier, it was announced that the ruling was to take effect yesterday.

Taking advantage of the cheaper fuel, the Thais would visit different petrol kiosks to fill up the tanks of their vehicles before returning to their homes in nearby Danok, across the Malaysia-Thai border in Kedah, to store the fuel. They would then re-enter to buy more.

A similar scenario was also observed with Thai vehicles in Padang Besar.

A worker at one of the petrol stations here, Norlela Bulat, 29, noticed that most of the vehicles that showed up at her petrol kiosk were the same ones.

She believed that they were trying to buy as much petrol or diesel for storage before the ruling came into force.

Meanwhile, Kedah Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Department enforcement division chief Suhaimi Mat Sari said he and his men would be merely observing the situation until the ruling came into effect.

He said they were also identifying petrol kiosks which were the "favourites" among the Thais and that stricter checks would be carried out on them from Monday.

He said 150 enforcement officers would be stationed at all 175 petrol kiosks, located between Bukit Kayu Hitam and Alor Star, to ensure all parties strictly observed the new ruling.

Any petrol kiosk found breaching the ruling will face a maximum fine of RM250,000 or three years' jail or both.

Individuals found guilty of the offence will face the maximum RM100,000 fine.

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