It's business as usual for Melbourne eatery

PETALING JAYA: It will be business as usual at the Little Ipoh Restaurant in Melbourne when it reopens.

"We just have to continue. The shop is closed to make sure everything is cleaned.

"Even friends are helping us clean up," owner Raja Yasmin Raja Abdul said in a telephone interview from the Australian city.

She added that they were trying to get the insurance company to replace the window that was smashed in Tuesday's drama by a disturbed Malaysian man nicknamed "Panjang".

The Malaysian-owned restaurant was the scene of a two-hour siege by the armed man.

The man, who called himself the "Messiah", sent customers scurrying for their lives and kept Aust­ralian special operations police at bay. He was arrested after a two-hour standoff.

Raja Yasmin said that although she and her employees were traumatised by the event, they wanted to get the restaurant up and running as soon as possible.

"Everything will be fixed and the shop will be opened by Friday. We have a big booking to attend to," she said.

Asked how the adverse publicity had affected her, Raja Yasmin said she was "emotionally drained by calls from the media on what had happened".

She said she had also been receiving lots of calls from friends and family who wanted to know if they were safe.

"I was touched by the support of the Australian community,'' she added.

She said police informed her yesterday that the man was still in hospital and was being evaluated for mental illness.

Raja Yasmin, who was not in the restaurant at the time of the siege, said her husband told her the man was depressed.

"He said he could not stand it any more and was so sick. I feel so sorry for him," she added.