KUALA LUMPUR: The Tenaga Nasional Berhad 2003 National Day Kilimanjaro Expedition successfully made their way to the peak of Africa’s highest mountain on Aug 31.
The five-day expedition was possibly led by the oldest man to climb the mountain from Malaysia, if not the world.
However, the 70-year-old expedition leader Tan Sri Chan Choong Tak was modest about his achievement, saying it was of secondary importance compared to the demonstration of teamwork and national pride by the Tenaga team.
“Personally, the proudest moment for me is seeing all of us together as Bangsa Malaysia,” said Chan, who is former Tenaga board director.
The 20-man team, which included two women, was made up of Malaysians, and an Englishman.
All but one member made it to Gillman’s Point at 5,685m – the point where one is considered to have conquered Kilimanjaro.
Of the 19, nine continued to the highest peak, Uhuru, at 5,895m to hoist the Jalur Gemilang and sing Negaraku to celebrate the country’s Independence.
Uhuru means independence in Swahili.
The climb to Gillman’s Point was noted to be the toughest part of the journey while the hike to Uhuru was relatively easy.
Despite encountering some difficulties, he said a note from his grandson that read “Grandpa, don’t give up” gave him the inspiration to complete the journey.
Chan, who is also former Gerakan secretary-general, said he was also motivated when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad presented the Jalur Gemilang to him on Aug 23.
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