PONTIAN: Customers from a coffee shop and a guesthouse in Pontian were sent into a state of panic on Friday morning, after cracks appeared in the ceiling and pillars followed by loud crashing sounds.
Fearing an earthquake was taking place, customers of the businesses along Lorong Zamrud 3 ran out onto the street for fear the structure they were in would collapse on their heads in the 9am incident.
Retiree Yip Ah Yai, 70, said that she was just about to take a sip from her drink when she heard a loud crumbling noise from outside the coffee shop.
"I turned towards the noise and to my horror, I saw the pillars starting to crack. I ran for my life because I was so scared that the building would tumble," she told reporters here.
Owner of the coffee shop, Tey Siang Huat, 50, was in the kitchen cooking when some wok and pots hanging on the wall fell to the ground.
"I thought nothing of it at first, but then I heard a loud boom like something falling from a high place.
"My customers started shouting so I dropped my cooking utensils and ran out of the building," he said.
He added that he would close his shop temporarily to ensure the safety of his six workers and himself.
Tey's coffee shop is located in a building consisting 16 shoplots. Only four units, including the guesthouse and a snooker centre had cracks.
Pontian Baru Fire and Rescue Department chief Zulbahry Sulong assured residents there was no cause for panic, as the department did not receive earthquake reports or tsunami warnings.
"There were no casualties in the incident and we have asked for the public not to go near the premises for now to facilitate investigations," he said.
The Pontian Municipal Council (MDP) president Miswan Yunus said all residents and shop owners were told to evacuate the premises immediately for their own safety.
"The cracks could be due to renovation works done by the building owner but the building was built on reclaimed land," he said.
Kukup is a small fishing village located about 20km away from Pontian town and 69km away from Johor Baru.
It is known for its fishing activities and seafood restaurants located on stilts as well as resorts retreats.