KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 ― Consumers generally are not panicking or afraid about claims that they may face problems getting petrol and diesel by January 1 if petrol station operators refuse to increase their stocks of fuel by that date.

The president of the Bumiputera Petrol Station Operators Association Datuk Abu Samah Bachik had previously said that petrol station operators could not act in such a manner because the government was expected to reduce the price of fuels beginning next Tuesday and return to the system of fixing fuel price on a weekly basis.

A check by Bernama found that consumers did not feel threatened by the claim and held to the government's pledge that the supply of fuel was adequate for daily sales nationwide.

A consumer, Koh Kar Ling, 30, who is self-employed, described the announcement made by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) on Wednesday as one way of convincing the people not to be worried.

“The Malaysian government is very reliable and I believe everyone, whether the government, supplier or the intermediary, plays their respective role in looking after the rights and interests of the consumers,”he added.

Meanwhile, freelance photographer Karlheiri Mohamad Razali, 42, said such a situation was not possible because the prices of petrol and diesel were gazetted as scheduled controlled items under the Supply Control Act 1961 which ensured that consumers would always get their supply in the market.

Meanwhile, a manager of a petrol station in the Klang Valley who declined to be identified, told Bernama that the supply of petrol and diesel was expected to be adequate until early 2019.

“Petrol pump operators will receive their supply from suppliers and we certainly have no choice to reject.

“Of course we suffer a lot of losses, but consumers need not worry because we have to fulfil the requirements of the consumers for fuel supply at the petrol pumps.”

KPDNHEP Secretary-General Datuk Seri Jamil Salleh earlier said the ministry would carry out monitoring and inspections on petrol pump operators to ensure that fuel supply was always available for the public.

Meanwhile in Kangar, the Perlis branch of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) has assured that petrol and diesel supply in the state will be sufficient ahead of Jan 1 when fuel price is expected to change.

KPDNHEP Perlis branch assistant director (Enforcement), Mohd Rizab Baharom said based on records, 29 of the 33 petrol stations in the state which were inspected over the last two days were found to have sufficient supply.

“I hope there will be no panic buying among consumers and they must file a complaint if there are stations not operating,” he told the media after checking on two more petrol stations here today.

Petrol station operators who wish to shut down or shorten operation hours must have the prior approval of KPDNHEP Office, he added.

According to Mohd Rizab, the smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries had declined significantly following increase in enforcement operations and cooperation with other enforcement agencies in the border areas.

In Ipoh, the KPDNHEP in Perak has given its assurance that there is sufficient petrol and diesel at all 371 petrol stations in the state when the price of fuel is expected to change on January 1.

KPDNHEP state chief enforcement officer, Shamsul Nizam Khalil said the lack of supply would not have happened if the petrol station operator ordered the supply of fuel as normal.

“The station already knew the sales trend and volume, so if they ordered their supply and sell as normal, there will be no shortage.

“The shortage only happens when some stations closed causing consumers to find other stations,” he told reporters after inspecting the supply of petrol and diesel at a petrol station here today.

Commenting further, Shamsul said KPDNHEP would not hesitate to take action if there were station operators hoarding or declined to sell fuel to the people.

“If there are operators boycotting and refusing to sell, we will take action including sealing the petrol station and bringing the case to court for infringing the conditions of the licence,” he said.

Consumers can contact Perak KPDNHEP via its WhatsApp at 019-2794317, or its hotline 1800-886-800 to lodge complaints or provide information on errant operators. ― Bernama