All quiet in Rantau Panjang

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

LOCATED on the edge of Kelantan, Rantau Panjang has always been a shopper’s paradise, especially as Aidilfitri approaches and people prepare to celebrate it.

Today, however, it is all quiet, a consequence of the Movement Control Order imposed on the country to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A Bernama look at the duty-free town recently found a different atmosphere than before as the roads are empty of tourists, especially Muslims who would have been shopping in preparation for Aidilfitri in two weeks.

Chairman of the Rantau Panjang Traders’ Association, Ramli Abdullah said although the government announced the Conditional Movement Control Order was in place, the town remains empty of shoppers.

“Only the locals come to shop for Aidilfitri as many traders here sell clothes and material.

“Business here is not thriving, even if we open the shops, there is nobody and it is a waste of time and adds to the daily costs,” he said when met here today.

In previous years, during the weekends approaching Hari Raya, Rantau Panjang would be bursting with customers comprising locals and tourists from other states and even Thailand.

“The borders are not open now and tourists cannot go home, so it has affected the more-than 1,000 traders here and some have had to close shop.

“It is difficult to sell online as most of the traders are old and do not have the skills to do business that way,” he said.

Meanwhile, a trader who sells clothes and material, Syed Bazlishah Syed Muhammad, 49, this was the first time his business has been so badly affected since he first started about 30 years ago.

“Now, we only get RM300 a day compared to more than RM1,000 before and the RM300 is barely enough to pay for the RM1,500 rental of the shop, not including the salary of the workers,” he said.