Motorists fume as RON95 runs out in Bau, Sarawak – again

There was a shortage of RON95 fuel in Bau, Sarawak, since Sunday, leaving motorists fuming and frustrated.

The small town, about 35km from Sarawak’s capital of Kuching and with a population of about 62,000, has three petrol stations – two operated by Shell, and the other, by Petronas.

Both Shell stations ran out of RON95 on Sunday. This resulted in long queues at the Petronas station.

Supply was only restored yesterday – on Gawai, the harvest festival.

Locals, however, said this is not new.

“This is not the first time the Shell stations have run out of RON95,” said Gray Robson, 38.

“I came to fill up my car (yesterday) as I cannot afford RON97 (at RM4.70 per litre). It is more than double the price of RON 95 (RM2.05 per litre).

“I work on a chicken farm, and we need petrol for deliveries. I can accept if the delay is for a day, but it has been three days.”

When told that there was RON95 at Petronas, Gray said the queue was too long.

Many motorists visited the Petronas station in Bau following a shortage of RON95 fuel. Image: Graig Nunis / Twentytwo13

“Why does this always happen during Gawai and Christmas? Oil companies should anticipate the surge in demand during the festive season,” said Gray.

“My friends told me the same thing is happening in nearby towns. I am not surprised.”

Another motorist, who identified himself as Edward, described the situation as “very frustrating”.

“Shell is my preferred choice. I have waited since Monday to top up my car.

“I went to Petronas (on Tuesday). The queue was too long.

“I had wanted to visit some relatives in Kuching in the morning but had to postpone it to later in the day,” he added.

An employee at the Shell station in Jalan Bau-Lundu said it only received its quota yesterday morning.

“We have a monthly allocation. It is usually more than enough,” said Bong Sung Chai.

“I cannot say much about the delay as my boss is not around, but I am happy we can provide petrol for our customers once again.”

The other Shell station at Jalan Bau-Kuching also received its supply yesterday morning.

An employee, who only wanted to be known as Charles, said: “Many customers complained they had to fill up with RON97. I sympathised with them, but there was nothing we could do.”

“The Gawai holidays may have played a part, as there are more vehicles than usual in the past week. People have returned for the harvest festival.”

A senior staff at the Petronas station at Jalan Kuching-Bau, however, said the station had enough supply.

“We had a surge of customers in the past two days,” said Wendy Tat.

“We operate on a quota system. Having only one station means we have enough supply.

“There was one time when we ran out of petrol, but that was a while back.

“One of the reasons was a massive traffic jam that delayed the arrival of the fuel tankers. Since then, we have had no issues,” Tat added.

When told about the quota system, another motorist Enyline Bujang, said: “If that is the case, Shell should reduce the delivery of RON97, as hardly anyone uses it here.

“The price of goods is already expensive. No one wants to pay more than RM4 for a litre of petrol.

“We have experienced shortages before, but it was never for this long,” added Enyline.

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