RM10m to rebuild Kinabalu Park
Published on: Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kundasang: The Federal Government is allocating RM10 million for repairs and rehabilitation of the facilities at Mount Kinabalu damaged by Friday's 5.9 magnitude earthquake, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.The Prime Minister said it was important for Kinabalu Park to get back on its feet again since it is a major attraction not only to Malaysians but also to the world in view of it being a World Heritage Site.

Speaking at the presentation of contributions to the next-of-kin of the mountain guides killed during the earthquake at Dewan Kinabalu in Kinabalu Park, Tuesday, he said the Federal Government would consider giving special recognition to the mountain guides who had shown extraordinary courage during the incident which claimed the lives of 16 people, with two others still missing and presumed dead.

"When we mention 'berkorban apa sahaja' (sacrifice everything) then that is the role that the mountain guides have played during the search and rescue mission, even though it means putting their life at stake," he said.

"I have discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and we (Federal Government) will assess the most appropriate recognition to be given to the mountain guides," he said to thunderous applause.

Najib, who was earlier briefed on the operations to save and rescue victims on Mount Kinabalu at the Liwagu Restaurant by State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman and Commissioner of Police Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rashid, also expressed satisfaction with the cooperation among all the agencies involved.

"I wish to state that after being given a briefing and explanation this morning, on behalf of the Government, I am very satisfied with all the operations undertaken by all parties. If there are those pointing the accusing finger over purported delays or weaknesses, these are not true."

He said all the actions and operations undertaken by the rescuers under the circumstances after the earthquake were based on the weather conditions at the time.

"To the untrained eyes the weather condition might seem to be fine but on closer look, it is actually windy and foggy, making it impossible for helicopters to land," he said, commenting on the criticisms that the authorities did not send helicopters to evacuate the victims immediately after the quake struck.

"Whatever humanely possible that could be done under the circumstances had been done," he said.

All the earthquake victims on Mount Kinabalu who could be saved were rescued and brought down from the mountain, while some were fated to perish in the tragedy.

"Take this as God's will. We hope they (the families) will be patient and able to move on," he said.

According to him, he also chanced upon a meeting with the Singapore High Commissioner who expressed the Singapore Government's appreciation to the Malaysian Government for its efforts to assist its citizens during the disaster.

"I've also written a letter to the Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressing our deepest sympathy for their loss," he said.

Seven Singaporeans comprising five 12-year-olds and two teachers died in the earthquake and another two comprising a teacher and a 13-year-old are still missing.

Receiving the contributions handed by Najib were Reena Joshi, the wife of Robbi Sapinggi, Ronny Masirin, 35, the elder brother of Ricky Masirin, Victorius Benjamin, 41, the cousin of Valerian Joannes, Daimin @ Benjamin Bin Kembing on behalf of Joseph Solungin and Richard Soibi, who is the Chairman of the Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association.

Najib also witnessed the handing over of the RM1 million contribution from Sarawak that was presented to Musa by Datuk Amar Awang Tengah representing Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

Meanwhile, Musa, in his speech, expressed appreciation and gratitude to all those who had contributed to the victims.

He said the State Government would work together with the Federal Government to hand out whatever assistance appropriate to the people affected by the earthquake.

He said the Prime Minister's presence here had given solace to the people, particularly the families of those who perished in the disaster.

"This proves that the Federal leaders especially the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister who was with us last Sunday are always concerned and close to the heart of the Sabah people," he said.


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