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Friday, 10 January 2014

'Earthquake' in Pontian stirs panic

Council workers inspecting the damaged building.

Council workers inspecting the damaged building.

PONTIAN: Thinking an earthquake had occurred, customers at a coffee shop and a guesthouse in Kukup rushed out after noticing the ceiling and building pillars starting to split and crack.

Patrons ran helter-skelter out of the premises located along Lorong Zamrud 3, just next to the Kukup bus terminal here at around 9am when the incident took place.

Retiree Yip Ah Yai, 70, said that she was just about to take a sip of her drink when she saw the cracks on the pillars outside.

“I ran for my life because I was afraid the building would collapse,” she said here yesterday.

Coffee shop owner, Tey Siang Huat, 50, said he was in the kitchen preparing some dishes when the wok and pots, which were hanging on the wall, fell to the ground.

“My customers started to shout in fear as they ran out of the shop. I did the same,” he said.

In the meantime, he said that he would close his badly-damaged shop to ensure the safety of his customers, workers and himself.

The coffee shop is housed in a building consisting of 16 shoplots.

Only four units from the far-end were damaged. The others included a guesthouse and a snooker centre.

Pontian Baru Fire and Rescue Department chief Zulbahry Sulong assured residents that there was no need to panic as the department did not receive any earthquake reports or tsunami warnings.

Pontian Municipal Council president Miswan Yunus said the council was working with the Works Department to investigate the structure of the eight-year-old building.

“The cracks could be due to renovation works done by the building owner.

“However, the building sits on reclaimed land,” he said.

Kukup is a small fishing village located about 20km away from Pontian town and 69km away from Johor Baru.

Tags / Keywords: Transport Safety , cracks , Kukup , building , tremors , panic


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