KOTA KINABALU - A photograph of five foreigners supposedly urinating close to the peak of Mount Kinabalu has gone viral on Facebook, triggering outrage among Sabahans who consider the peak sacred.
In the picture, which was taken from a distance, the five people could be seen urinating with the peak of the mountain clearly in the background.
Sabah Parks has been ordered to investigate the matter to see if the incident really did take place or if the picture was doctored, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
Sabah Parks, he said, was checking with the mountain guides if any of them had knowledge of foreigners urinating near the peak of the mountain.
"It could have been a superimposed photograph. We are doing a full investigation," he said when contacted here yesterday.
Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Zainal Adlin said the 4,095m mountain was sacred, adding that such an act was disrespectful to the people who revered it.
The Kadazandusuns believe that the mountain is the sacred resting ground of the spirits of their ancestors and should be treated with great respect.
They also believe that the word Kinabalu comes from the word Aki Nabalu which means abode of the dead.
Condemning the alleged act, netizens said there was a need to tell all climbers to show respect for the mountain and for a book on the dos and don'ts.
Guides, they said, should also be more proactive and act against those disrespecting the mountain.
The photograph had surfaced on social media on May 30 before it quickly spread.