RANTAU PANJANG: Border authorities here today conducted a special operation to prevent Malaysian shoppers from crossing Sungai Golok into Munduk market in Thailand as a precaution against exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The operation, codenamed 'Ops Munduk', was carried out by the General Operations Force (GOF) with the help of other relevant agencies such as the police and the marines.
GOF Ninth Battalion operations officer Assistant Superintendent Mohamad Azlee Ismail said that 20 GOF members, including four officers, took part in the operation which started at 11am.
"The operation is aimed at, among others, preventing all types of illegal movement from the Malaysian side to Munduk market, which is located across Kampung Bukit Lata, here.
"Apart from preventing the spread of Covid-19 from the Thai side to Malaysia, we also want to put a stop to all illegal cross-border activities that have been on-going all this while," he told reporters.
Azlee said the operation also focused on the people's safety.
"Those who go to the Munduk market normally do not wear life jackets when they cross the Golok river via passenger boats.
"There are about eight boats plying the river daily, especially on Fridays and Mondays, when the morning market is open.
"We estimate between 200 and 300 Malaysian shoppers use the boat services during the two days," he added.
Besides Kampung Bukit Lata, Azlee said that the operation also covered three other illegal jetties at Pak Nik, Pohon Setol and Jitung.
Thailand’s Public Health Ministry reported recently that the number of local Covid-19 patients remained unchanged at 35 since early last month.
Seventeen have already been discharged, while 18 others are still in hospitals.