You have probably seen the viral video showing rows of empty shops in Johor Bahru, evidence of an economy badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It came with the warning that Singaporeans should not visit Johor Bahru because they will be targeted by desperate robbers.
Find out what’s going on, and what the FACTS really are!
Many Shops In Johor Bahru Closed Because Of COVID-19?
The viral video shows long rows of empty shops, with tons of large banners advertising them for sale or rent. Apparently, businesses were forced to close down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is accompanied by this warning that Singaporeans should not visit Johor Bahru because they will be targeted by desperate robbers there.
JB very sipeh jialat now
No, Those Shops Are NOT In Johor / Closed Due To COVID-19!
Thanks to help from some friends, we can confirm that while this video is genuine, those shops are nowhere in the state of Johor, or even closed down due to COVID-19.
In other words, this is FAKE NEWS, and here are the reasons why…
Reason #1 : The Video Was Recorded In Selangor
A close examination of the video will show this signboard that belongs to Optimus Business Solutions.
Optimus Business Solutions’ official address puts them in the IP5 Business Park, Kota Kemuning in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Reason #2 : They Are New Shops @ Sinaria Tropicana Aman
The shops at IP5 Business Park, however, look different from the shops in the video.
Thanks to clues provided by our friends, we traced them to a new development called Sinaria Tropicana Aman, in Kota Kemuning South, Selangor.
The shops in Sinaria Tropicana Aman definitely look exactly like those in the video. Therefore, we believe that Optimus Business Solutions may have moved there recently.
Reason #3 : Businesses Need To Exist First To Close Down
Sinaria is a relatively new development that completed in 2019. This Google Street View taken in August 2019 shows it completely empty, with no operational business.
Therefore, we believe that the viral video was taken much later, as there were many banners and at least seven operational businesses visible in it.
This suggests that while uptake has been slow, at least some businesses have moved into Sinaria Tropicana Aman.
We also do not see any old signboards of businesses that have shut down under the banners.
In other words, the streets were empty not because of COVID-19 lockdowns, but because the development is relatively new during a period of commercial real estate glut.
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