KUALA LUMPUR: Thirteen Caltex petrol station dealers are in dire straits after they were forced to vacant their premises by the petroleum company without proper notice.
Speaking to Berita Daily, one of the dealers, Fauziah Ahmad Fadzil said that Caltex had decided to terminate the service of the 13 dealers after they had been involved in a legal suit against the company some three years ago.
“It all started when the 13 of us decided not to heed with the instruction from Caltex. They wanted us to pay for the upgrade of the pump for automated machine.
“The charge was about RM1,500 to RM2,000 a month. However, there was a clear-cut instruction from the government that dealers are not responsible for the upgrade. The company should bear the cost of the installation.
“We took the matter to court and we won twice at the High Court and the Court of Appeal. But Caltex was not satisfied and took the matter to the Federal Court and there we lost our case,” he said.
He added that after the Federal Court decision, the 13 dealers paid about RM300,000 to Caltex thinking that that was the end of the matter.
Fauziah said Caltex however had ordered the 13 of them to leave the premises as their contract had been terminated.
According to Fauziah, all 13 petrol station dealers were given only 30 days to vacate their stations without stating a proper reason.
“This is a kind of systematic bullying by the company. Why terminate the 13 of us.
“It is to set an example to other dealers that they must not go against the company. We were not simply challenging them. We are fighting for our rights. The order from the government was clear.
“Dealers are not the one who should bear the cost of the installation. But even after they won, they are not happy with us. We are not new in this industry. Among us, some have 49 years of experience,” said Fauziah who had been managing two petrol stations for almost 17 years.
She said they wanted the the government, especially the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK), to look into this matter seriously.
“The ministry should not allow local dealers to be bullied by a foreign company and let them do whatever they want to us,” she added.
Asked on her next move, Fauziah said that they will be seeking for some assistance from KPDNKK to reach for an amicable settlement between both parties.
However, she said if Caltex refused to look for a better resolution, her group would not hesitate to take the matter to court once again.
“We are reaching out the ministry, the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and local petroleum dealer associations,” she said.