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Singapore, Malaysia

Melissa Lin
Sunday, Oct 12, 2014

Singapore, Malaysia

S'poreans say they will avoid Bukit Bintang area for now

The Straits Times | Melissa Lin | Sunday, Oct 12, 2014

Police at the scene of the grenade blast in the popular shopping district of Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Singaporeans who frequent the popular shopping district of Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur were shocked by news of yesterday's grenade blast and said they will not go there for now.

"I'll probably avoid the area for a while until the police have investigated and found the cause of it," said Ms Pan Shi Hua, 26, a marketing executive who visits the Malaysian capital every three months to shop and eat.

She usually stays at a hotel in Jalan Bukit Bintang because of its proximity to the bus terminal, which is about a 15-minute walk away. "I felt the area was safe because I was familiar with it."

Early yesterday morning, a grenade attack along the shopping belt left Malaysian car jockey Tiong Kwang Yie, 36, dead and 13 others, including a Singaporean, injured. It is understood that one of two grenades went off. Malaysian police are investigating.

Singaporeans said they visit Jalan Bukit Bintang for its malls, Bugis Street-like night markets and cheap massage and foot reflexology services. There are also clubs, bars and al fresco cafes nearby.

Some, like Ms Michelle Niam, 25, said they will skip the area but still visit the rest of Kuala Lumpur and its outskirts.

"There's not a high chance of it happening again, I think," said Ms Niam, who is unemployed. "But I'll just go to Putrajaya (south of Kuala Lumpur) and not go into the city."

Mr Helmindra J.A. Halim, 32, a cafe owner, said the district is usually hectic in the day, but is "quite dodgy at night".

He knows of friends who have had their handbags snatched and car windows smashed by motorcycle gangs there.

He said that despite the attack, he will still make his monthly visit to the city, but will give his massage sessions at Jalan Bukit Bintang a miss for now. He will also take his usual precaution of avoiding dark alleys when he is there.

"I would go to Kuala Lumpur next week if I have the time, but I'll stay on the outskirts," he said. "Wherever you go, you just have to take care of yourself."

This article was first published on October 10, 2014.
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