MIRI: Diesel is still being sold at unreasonably high prices in rural Sarawak despite a recent announcement by the Government to fix the rate to be at par with urban areas.
Rural folks have complained to The Star that the fuel – used to power vehicles and generator sets in homes and farms – is being continuously sold at four or five times the price set by the Government.
Checks found that diesel is priced at about RM7 per litre in many places in the Ulu Baram district, some 200km inland from here.
In mountainous regions like Bario and Ba’Kelalan, diesel is being sold at between RM7 and RM8.
The continuously high price of diesel in rural Sarawak also affects government agencies, including the running of Mulu Airport at the World Heritage Site Mulu National Park.
Miri Airport Bhd manager Kamaruzaman Razali said airport authorities in Mulu had to buy diesel at RM6.80 per litre, not at RM1.70 per litre sold in Miri.
When contacted, Miri Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs chief Zakaria Awang confirmed that he had received many complaints from rural folks about the high fuel price.
“Many rural folks want to know why the price of the fuel is still so high. Our ministry has done some ground checks and found that many rural outposts are plagued by this problem.
“When former minister Datuk Shahrir (Abdul Samad) launched the scheme, it was meant for all rural regions.
“The transportation subsidy scheme is being handled by the Residents’ Office, not by our ministry,” he said, adding that rural folks were right to expect the prices of the vital fuel to be considerably lower now.
He hoped that the relevant authorities would take note of these grouses and act fast to resolve them.
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