JOHOR BARU: A powerful explosion ripped through a mamak restaurant in Stulang Darat here, jolting dozens of nearby residents from their sleep early Monday.
No one was injured in the 2.15am explosion, believed to have been caused by a powerful bomb made of plastic explosives.
The impact of the blast destroyed the restaurant’s back wall and ceiling and sent debris flying several metres away.
The explosion, dubbed the first of its kind in the state, even caused zinc sheets to sever a palm tree planted at the front of the shop.
A car parked behind the restaurant was also damaged.
The restaurant, known as Stulang Corner, was under renovation, and was supposed to open on Dec 5.
Police have dismissed the possibility of it being a terrorist act or extremism, saying that investigations were pointing towards business rivalry or sabotage.
It is leant that the explosive devices were thrown into the restaurant through a ventilation hole in the kitchen.
At press time, a forensic team from Bukit Aman had been dispatched to assist their counterparts in Johor to ascertain the type of the bomb.
At least six people believed to be cleaners staying on the upper floor of a mamak restaurant in Stulang Darat managed to escape alive during the explosion at the outlet.
Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff who visited the scene said that police would be recording statements from all relevant people to piece together what had happened. There are a total of four double storey shop lots in the area. The shops are mostly food outlets.
The Stulang Corner restaurant is strategically located on a main road being upgraded linking Permas and the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex in Bukit Chagar.
Meanwhile, restaurant manager Tahir Ali, 39, said the renovation work had been going on for the past two months.
He estimated losses to be between RM100,000 to RM150,000.
‘We definitely have to temporarily postpone our opening due to this incident,” he said.