Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Banten
Motorists in Serang and Cilegon municipalities have complained of engine trouble after filling up at petrol fuel stations over the past week.
Suhendi, a resident of the Taman Banten Lama housing complex in Serang said his motorcycle broke down in Kaligandu on Saturday and has not been able to be started since.
"In fact, it's not only my motorcycle. My neighbors' cars also broke down and their engines couldn't be started," he said Monday.
Agus Mahtadi, a resident of the Taman Widya Asri housing complex in Serang also faced trouble with his car engine after filling up Sunday.
"When I took the car to a workshop, the technicians found the engine was damaged because there was an unidentified liquid mixed in with the gasoline," he said.
Complaints that bad quality gasoline was distributed to fuel stations in Cilegon and Serang from state oil company PT Pertamina's transit terminal at Tanjung Gerem near Merak Port in Cilegon have piled up over the past four days.
Erwin, a resident of Cilegon municipality, said he switched to higher octane fuel after his car broke down on May 4.
"I am suspicious that I and many other people here bought fake gasoline from petrol stations. But we're still in the dark where the mixture happened," he said.
Budi, an operator at the Karang Anyar fuel station in Cilegon acknowledged he had received complaints of bad fuel quality from drivers. He said some of them, particularly public minivan drivers, had threatened to stage a protest at the station.
"We began to receive complaints from consumers who bought premium gasoline on Thursday and we told them Pertamina had to be held responsible for the losses they suffered," he said.
The fuel station receives 24 tons of fuel delivery from the Tanjung Gerem terminal each day.
Khaerul, an operator at a petrol station on Jl. Lingkar Selatan in Serang, said that his petrol station had also received complaints from consumers, mostly public minivan drivers.
"Following consumers' complaints, we stopped ordering fuel from Tanjung Gerem for a while and asked for our fuel supply from Jakarta instead," he said.
Sulaeman, from Pertamina's Tanjung Gerem terminal, said the transit terminal supplied fuel to 56 fuel stations in Banten but none of them had complained about fuel quality as of Monday.
"We send gasoline after it passes three laboratory tests starting from when its transferred from tankers to when it reaches the fuel stations. So it's impossible we sent fake gasoline," he said.
A local Consumers Foundation, YLPKSM, has said it is planning to take legal action against Pertamina.
"We have obtained samples of the gasoline, which has allegedly been mixed with other fuel, causing damage to the engines of hundreds of vehicles," Silvi Yuniatur, the YLPKSM director, said.