Sabah quake: Guides who died saw stripping act

Sabah quake: Guides who died saw stripping act

KOTA KINABALU: Mountain guides Joseph Solugin and Robbi Sappinggi saw the naked foreign tourists at the peak of Mount Kinabalu a week before both were killed in the earthquake.

They were hit by falling boulders following the quake on June 5.

Joseph's elder sister Myren said the youngest of 11 siblings looked unhappy after returning from the mountain on May 30.

"Today I'm so soi (ill fortune). Robbi and I saw a group of naked tourists on Mount Kinabalu," he had told his wife.

Myren said that Joseph had been uneasy after that.

She also said she had tried to stop him from leaving on June 4 when he went up the mountain.

However, Joseph told her that he could not take the day off because there were too many visitors waiting to scale the mountain.

He promised to return by June 12 to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

"Sadly, the night of June 4 was the last we heard from him," she said.

Amazing Borneo, where Joseph was working for, said the father of two children aged two and four was found beneath a boulder.

According to its website, Joseph's mountain guide colleague Sharul­nizam Suhaji described the man as an easy-going person and was always kind.

Stripping stunt latest of offences by climbers

The stripping stunt by 10 foreign tourists on Mount Kinabalu was the latest in a series of offences committed by climbers over the years, says veteran mountain guide Suhaji Sumail.

He said in his four decades of guiding trekkers up the mountain, he had seen people spit, litter, urinate and defecate indiscriminately, besides shouting vulgarities.

"All these are strictly taboo for Sabah's ethnic communities who firmly believe in a certain code of conduct while on the mountain or at waterfalls or in the jungle.

"When I was young and wanted to go up the mountain for the first time, my parents held a ritual and asked permission for me to go up and return safely," said Suhaji, 63, a native of Kundasang.

He said he still remembers his parents warning him to seek permission before answering the call of nature.

"And if we were to feel or see or hear anything unusual, we should pass by the area quietly and not say anything. We have always believed in penunggu or guardian spirits on the mountain and at waterfalls," he said.

He said many locals believed Friday's earthquake was a punishment for the accumulation such offences.

"I hope Sabah Parks will organise a ritual to appease the mountain spirits as soon as possible," he said.

Every year, Sabah Parks organises the monolob or appeasing the mountain spirit ceremony, which involves the sacrifice of seven white-feathered chickens and white eggs.

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