JOHOR BARU – A bomoh at the JB Bazaar Karat night market in the city centre has been drawing a crowd for the past few nights.
The middle-aged man, dressed in a plain white T-shirt, black pants and black headgear, would perform his rituals while sitting on a piece of cloth on the ground at the end of Jalan Dhoby.
The man, who speaks with an Indonesian accent, is usually wreathed in smoke from a burning incense, with a bowl containing ringgit notes, a jar of brown liquid and glasses of water on saucers placed before him.
Once, he engaged a young boy in one of his gimmicks, asking him to hold up a black cloth in order to make money appear.
A visitor who asked to be identified only as Nisha, 26, said the crowd of onlookers around the man caught her attention on Sunday night during her weekly visit to the market.
He was extracting liquid from the jar in front of him with a syringe before filling small bottles with it, claiming they could ward off evil spirits.
He then gave out the bottles for RM1 each to people in the crowd, telling them not to sell the bottles or risk bad luck, said Nisha, adding that she also got a bottle from the man.
Marketing assistant Norhafis Haris, 31, felt that the man’s presence was a nuisance.
“I think parents, especially those with young children, should stay away. The bazaar should be a clean and safe place for all to shop and enjoy a stroll,” he said.
Self-employed K. Raven, 29, was there with his friends but said they were just watching him for entertainment.
“We decided to stop by out of curiosity but I don’t believe in supernatural stuff,” he said.
Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) traders zone councillor Abdullah Md Yusof said it has never issued licences for bomoh or the like to conduct business at the night market.
There are about 500 licensed traders at the JB Bazaar Karat selling food and drinks, clothes, beauty products, pets, toys, second-hand items and decorations.
He urged the public to lodge a complaint by calling the MBJB hotline at 07-228 2525 or its toll-free hotline at 1300-88-0146, so that enforcement could be carried out.