Monday, January 10, 2005

Shafie Apdal - Kasi Malu Orang Sabah

Ever since the government imposed quota system of diesel sale at petrol stations, people through out Malaysia has been questioning the credibility of Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Shafie Apdal, the former Sabah UMNO Youth Chief and the Member of Parliament for Semporna. His ministry's 'wise' move has caused lots of hardship, wasted valuable time and money of transporters and vehicle users.

When a measures taken to overcome some irregularities or illegal activities brought about more irregularities and gave rise to more illegal activities, it must be a poor action which was taken without detail studies. When a wrong move was taken, there is no use defending it no matter for what purpose. Wrong is wrong, admit it.

If Shafie is trying to defend his quota system, he is asking the public to access him more. The more the public scrutinise on him, the more trouble he is heading. So for goodness sake, think of the people of Semporna and Sabah, do something wise and do it quick.

Jangan kasi malu orang Sabah

Public transport in jeopardy
By P. Selvarani

Thousands of commuters who depend on public transportation daily may find themselves stranded if the current quota on the sale of subsidised diesel is not reviewed, bus operators warned. P. SELVARANI reports THE public transportation services in the country could be crippled within the next few weeks.

This is due to the shortage of diesel brought on by the recently introduced quota system on the sale of subsidised diesel at petrol stations.

Expressing this fear yesterday, bus operators in the country have called on the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to review its decision to limit the sale of subsidised diesel, as it has created an acute shortage of the fuel, making it nearly impossible for operators to run their services as normal.

“A lot of our members are not getting enough petrol as whatever stock the petrol stations have been allocated are now fast depleting,” said Pan Malaysia Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) president Datuk Ashfar Ali. “And it is only just the beginning of the month. If the petrol stations run out of diesel before the end of the month, our services will definitely come to a halt.”

The association has 106 members nationwide with a fleet of 3,200 buses in total.

Ashfar said the worst affected were its members in Sabah and Sarawak, whose supply of diesel has been reduced by about 50 per cent following the introduction of the quota system this week.

“I have been receiving desperate calls from Sabah and Sarawak from members who are unable to get enough diesel to run their services as scheduled. The situation there is acute,” he said.

Ashfar fears that the situation would get worse towards the end of the month, more so with the coming festive season.

“The frequency of our services increases during this period, and with the Hari Raya Haji, Thaipusam and Chinese New Year festivities coming, our services will be disrupted if we cannot get enough diesel. The Ministry should seriously re-think its policy so that there is a fairer distribution of the fuel and the services are not disrupted,” he said, adding that PMBOA has suggested that the Ministry introduce a system where the sale of the fuel is limited to each vehicle, as was once practiced.

“For example, they can limit it to RM20 per car and RM50 per bus or lorry. That would be fairer as it would ensure continuous supply of diesel. The Ministry should also ensure that petrol stations which cater more for buses, lorries and taxis get adequate supply.

“Under the present system, even the petrol dealers are in a bind as they cannot withhold the sale of diesel to anyone as long as they have stock, as they risk having their licences revoked.”

The Ministry’s ruling, Ashfar said, also has an impact on the economy as people would have difficulty commuting to work if public transport services are disrupted.

He added that the problem of diesel smuggling mainly occurs in the border areas, and the Government should concentrate such measures in the affected areas and not in the towns and cities where there is less of a problem.

He said the association was now in the midst of getting more feedback from its members before submitting a memorandum to Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal next week.

“We regret that the Ministry did not call us for a meeting before implementing this move. We believe it was only discussed with the oil companies,” said Ashfar.

Meanwhile, Federation of School Bus Operators Association president Chee Ah Tey also called on the Ministry to review the new system, adding that it is a burden on school bus operators, especially those who operate chartered bus services during weekends and holidays.

“How can they run these services on just RM60 worth of diesel? Why penalise the whole industry when a few black sheep are at fault?” asked Chee.

Last month, the Ministry announced that it would impose a limit on subsidised diesel sold at petrol stations to curb illegal sale to commercial users. Each petrol station has been allocated a limit on diesel supplied, depending on their proven capacity and traffic.

Shafie had said that the move would save the Government about RM234.7 million a year in diesel subsidy.


It’s under control, Shafie tells operators

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal has ensured petrol station operators that the Government will meet the diesel shortage. “We will also make sure the diesel supply is sufficient for the coming festive seasons of Hari Raya Haji and Chinese New Year,” he told The Malay Mail yesterday.

“I will be meeting Persatuan Pengedar Petroleum Malaysia (PDAM) representatives when they come to the Ministry tomorrow (today).”

Shafie said petrol station operators should inform the Government on the extent of the diesel shortage for the necessary action to be taken.

He also hoped that the diesel would be sold to the right quarters.

“We will monitor all activities involving subsidised diesel,” he added.

Shafie (left) was replying to yesterday’s statements by PDAM, Pan Malaysia Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) and Federation of School Bus Operators Association which were affected by the government’s decision to reduce the quota of subsidised diesel by 10 to 40 per cent.

The government’s action was to prevent the sale of illegal subsidised diesel to commercials users.

In the statement, PDAM president Alang Zari Ishak claimed that some of their members had run out of supply even before the end of the month.

PMBOA and the Federation of School Bus Operators Association also reported they could not operate their businesses with the limited diesel supply.

“I have been receiving desperate calls from Sabah and Sarawak members who are unable to get enough diesel to run their services as scheduled,” said PMBOA president Datuk Ashfar Ali.

© Copyright 2004 The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. All rights reserved.

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