Mundok market closure leaves shoppers in dismay
Malaysian shoppers had to turn back after authorities closed the jetties to Mundok market yesterday. — NST picture by Fathil Asri
RANTAU PANJANG: The river access to Mundok market, the shopping haven on the Thai side of the border here, has been closed.
The closure, which took effect yesterday, was said to be a final decision by the Thai authorities and Malaysians could not go there by simply crossing Sungai Golok.
Yesterday's closure also caused thousands of Malaysians waiting at jetties near Kampung Bukit Lata here to cancel their trip to Mundok.
A Thai security officer, in an explanation to disgruntled Malaysians, said the order for the closure came from the Defence Ministry.
"The access to the jetties along the river here has to be sealed off due to security reasons.
"First, Malaysian police, especially the Pasir Mas police, have received many reports of missing cars and motorcycles from shoppers after they left their vehicles at the parking lots before crossing over.
"Secondly, it is illegal to cross over there (to Mundok) without any documents and the area was never gazetted for the public," the security officer said.
Many shoppers expressed disappointment over the sudden closure.
"This is unfair to us. We travelled far just to shop in Mundok which is famous for its cheap goods. This left us with no choice except to go to the duty-free zone in Rantau Panjang," said housewife Rokiah Daud of Kemaman, Terengganu.
The 43-year-old had travelled to Kelantan with her family for the school holidays.
Another shopper, Ali Abdul Rahman from Kedah, said he and his family choose to buy blankets and cooking utensils in Mundok because their prices were much cheaper compared with other markets.
Mundok, a small village on the Thai side of Sungai Golok, consists of more than 50 rows of shophouses and wooden huts selling various products such as clothes, cooking utensils, blankets and pet birds.
Many Malaysians preferred to go to Mundok as it was relatively safe compared with Sungai Golok town, which had been rocked by bomb attacks since 2004.
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