Tue, 30 May 2023



Sabahan dies after Everest success?
Published on: Sunday, May 21, 2023
By: Agust Dean
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Sabahan dies after Everest success?
Ag Asim Ampuan Yaacub (left) with other siblings showing a picture of the late Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub (inset) when met in Kampung Benoni, Papar on Saturday.
PAPAR: Sabahan Ag Askandar Ampuan Yaacub achieved his dream of becoming the first person from Borneo to conquer Mount Everest on Friday.

However, as fate would have it, he did not live to celebrate his achievement. Askandar fell off Mount Everest’s slopes while descending on Friday. Another Malaysian climber who also fell is still unaccounted for.

Askandar, who is also the Kedah Civil Defence Department (APM) Director, was participating in the Malaysian Everest 2023 (ME 2023) expedition. Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who was also in the first group, fell while descending from Camp 4 the same day. He is hearing impaired.

Meanwhile, older brother Ag Asim Ampuan Yaacub, 57, told Daily Express that Askandar had wished to retire early, build a house and settle in his village  in Kg Benoni, here.

Askandar expressed the wish the last time they were in contact via video call on May 7.

“He often told our sisters to please look after his wife and six children. The request sounded strange because the wife and children were far away in Kedah. But that’s the message he often told our sisters,” he said. He said that during the final video call, Askandar shared his intention of wanting to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak.

“Besides asking how we were doing, he also asked us to pray for his success,” he said when met in Kg Benoni on Saturday.

According to Asim, the victim said his first attempt at Everest last year was very challenging, requiring mental and physical endurance.

“Askandar wanted his victory to be a sort of religious experience and inspiration for future generations,” he said, adding that Askandar was the youngest of seven siblings and was fond of extreme sports from a young age.

Asim said his brother’s remains when brought home from Nepal would be buried at Kampung Benoni.

Meanwhile, APM Chief Commissioner, Aminurrahim Mohamed said Askandar’s passing is a great loss to the department. “The late Askandar is highly skilled and difficult to replace. He is an asset to APM.

“It was his second Everest attempt. During the first one, I advised him to reconsider because there was no need for APM services in such extreme places.

“We were involved in a mission to rescue earthquake victims in Turkey under extreme weather. “So after all, his expedition was a guide for us in preparation for the cold,” he said.

Aminurrahim said ME 2023 Chef De Mission, Tan Sri Dr. Salleh Mohd Nor is giving his best commitment in bringing Askandar’s remains back home.

He said he would provide utmost assistance to the victim’s wife and children taking into account his 15 years of service.

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