PADANG BESAR, March 31 — Located close to the Malaysia-Thailand border, Padang Besar used to be a bustling town thronged by visitors almost every day.
Now however, the town has gone quiet, no thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak which has threatened the world.
Most shops have closed down and the roads are empty, with maybe one or two vehicles plying them, perhaps with special permission to send essential items like food.
As part of its efforts to combat COVID-19, since March 26, Thailand has imposed tight control measures at the nine gateways connecting it with Malaysia, while the latter has also imposed the Movement Control Order (MCO) throughout the country until April 14.
Speaking to Bernama recently, several traders said they have to abide by the regulations and temporarily close down their businesses even though this means incurring losses, and have to dig into their savings to pay for daily expenses.
Recently, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) amounting to RM250 billion which aims at reducing the burden of the poor, including those in rural areas, who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the MCO.