KUNDASANG - The latest seismic equipment will be installed on Mount Kinabalu to minimise the likelihood of anyone getting caught in an earthquake in the future, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
He said seismic sensors would enable geologists to monitor tremors on the mountain and issue evacuation warnings if there was danger of an imminent earthquake.
"There is no equipment in the world that can predict when an earthquake will happen, but specialists can keep track of tremor activities through the equipment," the Prime Minister said after a briefing by search and rescue officials and Universiti Malaysia Sabah geologist Dr Felix Tongkul.
Najib said all mountain guides would also be equipped with walkie talkies to enable them to communicate during emergencies.
Each mountain guide would also be allowed to escort a maximum of six climbers.
Helicopter landing pads at Laban Rata and other locations on Mount Kinabalu would be expanded for larger military aircraft, he said, adding that he was satisfied with the search and rescue operations undertaken by various agencies, including the Fire and Rescue Services Department, the military and police.
"All that was humanly possible was done under the circumstances," he said, adding that thick clouds and strong winds prevented the use of helicopters in the rescue operations.
"Those who indulge in finger-pointing and claiming that not enough was done are wrong," said Najib, who also met the guides involved in the search and rescue efforts.
The Prime Minister said special recognition should be accorded to the guides who were involved in saving the lives of nearly 200 stranded climbers on the mountain after the earthquake.
"Their courage is extraordinary," he said to the applause of the more than 100 guides at the meeting in the Kinabalu Park hall.
He said the Federal Government would present them with a special award in recognition of their contributions.
Earlier, he announced a RM10mil (S$3.6 million) grant to Sabah for work to clear the debris and reconstruction of damaged facilities on the mountain.
"We want Mount Kinabalu to remain a famous destination among local and international travellers."