KOTA KINABALU: A brass plaque etched with the names of the 18 who died in one of Sabah’s worst natural disasters was unveiled exactly a year after the magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Mount Kinabalu.
Unveiling the plaque mounted on a rectangular granite slab from the mountain at the Kinabalu Park, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi said the simple monument was not only a memorial who had died but to remember the sacrifices made to save the 134 survivors.
“This memorial is a reflection of our shared grief for those who died on the mountain a year ago, many of whom were young school children,” he said after the simple ceremony at the Kiau Gap viewing platform near the base of Mount Kinabalu on Sunday.
“This is also a reminder to all that while climbing the mountain should be a memorable experience, safety must always be paramount,” Masidi added.
The ceremony began with a one minute of silence to remember those killed in rock avalanches following the 7.15am earthquake.
Masidi then laid a wreath at the memorial followed by the placing of 18 roses by various state officials and representatives of the four mountain guides who were among those killed on that fateful day - Robbi Sapinggi, Valerian James, Joseph Solungin and Ricky Masirin.
Others listed in plaque were Malaysians Lim Choon Seong and Muhammad Loqman Abdul Karim, Singaporean students Ameer Ryyan Mohd Adeed Sanjay, Emilie Giovanna Ramu and Matahom Karyl Higuit.
Other Singaporean students and teachers listed in the plaque were Terrence Sebastian Loo Jian Liang, Muhammad Ghazi Mohammed, Muhammad Daanish Amran and Navdeep Singh Jaryal Raj Kumar, Rachel Ho Yann Shiuan, Sonia Jhala and Peony Wee Ying Ping.
The others listed in the memorial were Japanese Masahiro Ozaki and China national Lu Qi.
Masidi then planted 18 native Agathis trees near the monument also in memory of those who died in the earthquake a year ago.
Masidi said he was touched to learn that Sonia’s parents and sibling as well as the families and friends of some of the Singaporean victims had climbed the mountain on the first anniversary of the event.
“To me this is the ultimate demonstration of their love for those who had passed on,” he said.
The Singaporean families and friends also held a memorial ceremony at Laban Rata on the mountain on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Masidi said a second summit route from Laban Rata dubbed the Kota Belud trail would be open to climbers in about a month’s time.
“This will be more for the adventurous type of climbers as it involves the use of ropes,” he said.
Masidi said the other summit route called the Ranau trail that was opened on Dec 1 was for recreational climbers.
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