KOTA KINABALU: Four mountain guides killed in the June 5 Mount Kinabalu earthquake were honoured along with over 100 other hero guides by Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin in conjunction with his 62nd birthday celebrations.
Vallerian Joannes, Robbie Sapinggi, Ricky Masirin and Joseph Salungin, who died while helping to save climbers, were posthumously awarded the Bintang Setia Kinabalu.
The BSK was also bestowed upon 157 mountain guides as well as staff of Sabah Parks, Sutera Sanctuary Lodges and Mountain Torq, who worked to rescue 160 people trapped on the mountain following the disaster that killed 18 people.
Mount Kinabalu Guides Association chairman Richard Soibi said they never expected to get the award and he himself was unaware of it until he saw the honours’ list yesterday.
“We are surprised but thankful that the Government recognised our role in the earthquake. We are truly humbled by it,” he said.
Those awarded, he said, included Fredyrick Alim, Hairi Rainin, Moidin Sompot and Obyzander Sabran, who risked their lives at the height of the rock falls in the summit area in the immediate aftermath of the quake.
A total of 25 guides were stranded and another 89 were involved in the rescue efforts.
The guides were expected to receive their awards from Juhar during a special ceremony at a later date.
Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria is among four recipients of the Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK), the highest state award, which carries the title “Datuk Seri Panglima”.
The others are Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau and Pantai Manis assemblyman Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail.
Sabah Infrastructure Development Assistant Minister Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar is among 48 recipients of the state’s second highest award, the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK), which carries the title “Datuk”.
Mercy Malaysia’s Dr Heng Aik Cheng also received the PGDK.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak is among 11 people to receive the Justice of Peace (JP).