KUALA LUMPUR: The government should consider penalising owners of foreign-registered vehicles filling up their tanks with the subsidised RON95 petrol, said the Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM).
Its president, Datuk Khairul Annuar Abdul Aziz, said petrol station operators already adopted strict measures to ensure that RON95 petrol was not sold to foreigners.
However, he lamented that there were times when such transactions occurred due to limitations, such as lack of staff monitoring foreign-registered vehicles at the premises and being a self-service industry.
The government, he said, should not just have their eyes on issuing fines to petrol station operators in an effort to curb such sales, but also assist in initiating action against the offenders.
“Why is the emphasis on us? Why not take action against those who flout the ruling and take advantage of it? There is photo evidence with the registration plate.
“When we notice such sales, we can stop the transaction immediately. But if there is no penalty, they will continue to do so. When there is a penalty, it will serve as a deterrent.
“There should be standard operating procedures on how we go about it, from discovering the offence and evidence submission to how we get them fined. There must be a process in place,” he told the New Straits Times.
Khairul was commenting on pictures of foreign-registered vehicles filling their tanks with subsidised RON95 petrol in Johor Baru after Malaysia reopened its land borders on April 1.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said petrol station operators found selling subsidised petrol to foreign-registered vehicles would face stern action and risk being fined up to RM2 million.
PDAM, added Khairul, was open to discussing with the ministry, industry players, fuel companies and associations on ways to tighten the system and address its limitations.
This, he said, was vital to prevent more financial losses as the subsidised RON95 petrol for Malaysians involved government money.
RON95 petrol is now priced at RM2.05 a litre until April 6.
Foreign-registered vehicles are only allowed to pump the non-subsidised RON97 petrol, which is priced at RM3.91 per litre until April 6.
The ruling to ban the sale of RON95 petrol to foreign-registered vehicles began in August 2010 and was announced by then domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is now prime minister.
Back then, Ismail Sabri said the new ruling was much easier to supervise instead of the previous 20-litre petrol cap on each vehicle and motorists could fill as much RON97 petrol they wanted.
He also said petrol station operators could have their permits revoked if they were caught selling the RON95 petrol to foreign-registered vehicles.
Separately, Khairul added that measures to stop such sales should be done collectively as Malaysians, too, can be the eyes and ears of the authorities and petrol station operators.
There would be no need to confront the offender directly, he said, adding that complaints could be reported to the cashier, who could immediately halt the transaction.
“If we were to have one staff member outside, it would not be easy to be on the lookout.
“People trying to take advantage would also be watching out for staff. When there are none, they would jump at the opportunity.
“There has to be a concerted effort and everybody needs to work together. (The ministry should) Not just come and penalise us RM1 or RM2 million.”
Source: New Straits Times