JB petrol station workers watch pumps to stop foreign cars filling up with subsidised fuel

Attendants started patrolling after videos of Singaporeans buying RON95 made the rounds on social media. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Petrol station operators in Johor Baru are taking extra measures to ensure that foreign-registered vehicles do not pump the Malaysian government-subsidised RON95 petrol.

Mr Hasif Jamaludin, a supervisor at a petrol station in Jalan Bukit Chagar near the checkpoint, said several workers were stationed at the petrol pumps to monitor the situation, including observing foreign-registered vehicles as they filled up their tanks.

"There were some customers with Singapore-registered cars who wanted to pump RON95 petrol and we had to explain the government's regulation to them.

"We also came across customers who argued with us about it, but we firmly insisted that they could pump only RON97 petrol according to the law," he told The Star.

The station's cashiers are now required to ask every customer purchasing RON95 if they are driving a Malaysia-registered vehicle.

"They also have to point out their vehicle to verify their purchase of the subsidised petrol," Mr Hasif added.

He said personnel from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry had been patrolling the petrol stations after videos of Singaporeans buying RON95 made the rounds on social media.

A manager of another petrol station in the Johor Baru city centre, who wanted to be known only as Boo, said there were attempts by some Singaporeans to pump RON95 recently.

"We came across instances where Singaporean motorcyclists tried to pump RON95 by using a credit card directly at the kiosk.

"To avoid getting caught, they would use the pumps located further away from the station's cashier counter or convenience store.

"However, we were able to stop them in time as we have workers monitoring the vehicles that come in. We have to keep our eyes open at all times," he said.

He added that some customers were unhappy with the restriction and took it out on the workers at the petrol station.

"They argued that the government's ruling does not apply to motorcycles, but that is not the case.

"Starting from October 2020, all foreign-registered vehicles, including motorcycles, are not allowed to buy RON95 in Malaysia," he said.

Meanwhile, petrol station cashier Firdaus Yahaya said the current number of Singapore-registered cars stopping by the premises near Taman Pelangi was still low compared with pre-pandemic times.

"Some asked beforehand if they could purchase RON95 and we had to explain to them that it is only for Malaysia-registered vehicles.

"For now, cashiers have been tasked to monitor the cars from a distance.

"With more Singapore-registered vehicles entering Johor since the border's reopening on April 1, we have two or three people monitoring the situation," he said.

Singaporean Siti Aidah Abdul Rahman, 39, said she hoped that others from the island republic would abide by Malaysia's law and not pump RON95.

"It would not be fair for us to buy RON95 as it would be like taking away resources meant for others. It is a shameful thing. At the same time, I hope that the public will not be quick to judge as the supposed viral photos of Singaporeans filling up their cars with RON95 could possibly be edited.

"I have never and would not attempt to buy RON95 as I know it is not my right. It is a matter of integrity. Other Singaporeans feel the same way as well," said the senior sales coordinator.

Malaysian Stanley Chin, who works in Singapore, said he reminded his relatives in the republic to be more careful when filling up petrol during their visits to Johor.

"After seeing online photos of Singapore-registered vehicles filling up with RON95, I quickly sent reminders in my family WhatsApp group as a handful of my relatives are now Singaporean citizens and plan to visit Malaysia soon.

"Some of them were still clueless about the fact that they were not allowed to purchase RON95," said the 23-year-old sales assistant.

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