Police urge Kelantan to put up warning sign at beach after drowning of five people

KOTA BARU (THE STAR/SIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police have urged the authorities to declare a stretch of beach in Kelantan unsafe for swimming after five people from one family drowned last Friday while holidaying there.

Police have called on local authorities to put up a signboard to warn off swimmers at Tok Bali beach in Pasir Puteh district, about 40km south of the Kelantan capital of Kota Baru.

Pasir Puteh district police chief Abdul Rozak Mohamad said locals were aware that the area was not safe but few outsiders knew that.

"The geological surface here is very uneven. The water can be waist high at one point, and can suddenly run deep in the next. The sand is also unusually soft here," he said.

He was referring to a family group of 20 people - from Selangor state and another part of Kelantan - who were holidaying at Tok Bali over the Chinese New Year holidays.

They were booked into chalets in the area, which is a popular beach site for local tourists.

Four of them drowned at about 10.50am on Friday and their bodies found about half an hour later.

The fifth body, that of five-year old Khaizuran Waliyuddin Suhaimi, was found on Saturday morning by fishermen in the area.

The others who died were Mr Yazul Bahari Yacob, 46, his sister Ms Yusnina, 38 and his daughter Yasmin Nor Aliza, 10.

The others who drowned were their niece Zulaikha Suhaimi, 10, and nephew Khaizuran.

Deputy Superintendant Abdul Rozak said the chalet staff had told the family that it was not safe to swim in the area.

"I have served as the OCPD (district police chief) for about three years, and have never come across a drowning case in this area.

"We hope the local council would put up a warning signboard along the beach soon, for the benefit of outsiders," said DSP Abdul Rozak.

Grief-stricken Yakob Ismail, 68, who lost his son, daughter and three grandchildren, said, "God loves them more".