Sabah quake: Malaysia to relook safety protocols, says minister

Sabah quake: Malaysia to relook safety protocols, says minister
Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin visited the memorial in Tanjong Katong Primary School to pay his respects to those who perished in the recent Mount Kinabalu earthquake.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin visited Tanjong Katong Primary school to pay his respects to those who died in the quake that struck Mount Kinabalu.

He told reporters that the incident came as a "big shock" to Malaysia, and that the relevant authorities would be looking at reviewing the safety protocols for climbing the mountain.

"We've never had an earthquake with the epicentre so close to the mountain," said Mr Khairy, "I believe we will ensure that future climbers will be safe when the new protocols are in place."

Said protocols include a proposal to raise the age of climbing Mount Kinabalu to 15. Currently, the official Mount Kinabalu website states that the minimum age for climbers is 10.

Meteorologists and geologists will also be assessing the impact of seismic threats in Sabah, as part of the efforts to relook safety aspects.

Mr Khairy penned a condolence note that read: "On behalf of the Malaysian government and people, I extend our deepest condolences to the family of the victims from Tg. Katong School. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May they rest in peace."

He added that search-and-rescue operations would hopefully be concluded on Tuesday, after unfavourable weather conditions in the last two days.

Mr Khairy defended Malaysia's emergency services, saying they have "done their best," in response to an Australian trekker's criticism for the rescue being disorganised.

"I think the Malaysian emergency services responded well under that circumstances," he said, "I think that has been seen from the recovery efforts."

andrewg@sph.com.sg

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