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Masidi: Rockfall barriers to be erected on Mt Kinabalu

Masidi during the press conference

3rd June, 2016


KOTA KINABALU: As the first anniversary of the deadly Ranau earthquake which took 18 lives is approaching on Sunday, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun announced that rockfall barriers will be erected on Mount Kinabalu to enhance the safety of the climbers.

In a press conference yesterday, Masidi said that the barriers, which would cost approximately RM6 million will be set up along the places where there are numerous loose boulders and rocks which were dislodged from the mountain’s rock face following the June 5 earthquake last year.

“This is to enhance the safety of the climbers especially when there are any tremors. The barriers would prevent the boulders from falling onto the climbers,” Masidi said, adding that this project will be the next phase of repairs conducted in Kinabalu Park.

Masidi said that the rockfall barriers will be expected to be completed next year and currently, experts are being called in to provide their input on the designs and the systems of the barrier.

“Once everything is completed, we will tender the project out,” he said further.

He added that the earlier phase, which cost slightly over RM1 million involved the repairing of the damaged trails due to the earthquake.

“In the end, it is not about the cost as we care for the utmost safety of the climbers. Even so, the repair works was done as a labour of love and not money,” he added.

He said that about 25 to 50 locals were involved in the repair works of the trail heading up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu.

He added that ever since the Ranau trail was open on December 1 last year, Sabah Parks have taken every effort to ensure the safety of climbers.

“We are always looking at ways to upgrade the trail as we have the safety of climbers in mind,” he said, adding that another trail, the Kota Belud trail, is currently 80 per cent completed and is expected to be opened for scaling after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations next month.

However, Masidi said that despite the numerous efforts taken to ensure the safety of the climbers, nature has its own ways.

“But as far as we can, we will always do our best to ensure the safety of the climbers,” he added. Among other efforts taken to ensure the safety of the climbers is to reduce the number of climbers at any given day from 195 climbers per day to 135 climbers per day.

Masidi also said that tourists’ confidence in the safety features of the mountain is evident when out of the 17,274 climbers who have scaled the mountain since December 1 last year, 55 per cent of them were foreigners from various countries.

Meanwhile, Masidi said that on Sunday, a symbolic plaque will be placed along the route leading up to the summit of the mountain to commemorate the deadly earthquake.

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