KOTA KINABALU: Gone but never to be forgotten. A brass plaque, etched with names of the 18 who died when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck Mount Kinabalu on June 5 last year, has been unveiled.
The simple monument was not only a memorial to those who died but also to remember the sacrifices made to save the 134 survivors, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
“It 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 unveiling ceremony at Kiau Gap viewing platform near the base of the mountain yesterday.
The plaque was mounted on a rectangular granite slab taken from the mountain.
Masidi said it would also serve as a reminder that while climbing the mountain should be a memorable experience, safety must always be paramount.
The ceremony began with a minute of silence to remember those killed in the rock avalanches that happened after the earthquake hit at about 7.15am.
Masidi then laid a wreath at the memorial, which was followed by the placing of 18 roses by state officials and representatives of the four mountain guides killed that fateful day – Robbi Sapinggi, Valerian James, Joseph Solungin and Ricky Masirin.
Others named on the plaque included Malaysians Lim Choon Seong and Muhammad Loqman Abdul Karim as well as Singaporean students and teachers Ameer Ryyan Mohd Adeed Sanjay, Emilie Giovanna Ramu, Matahom Karyl Higuit, Terrence Sebastian Loo Jian Liang, Muhammad Ghazi Mohammed, Muhammad Daanish Amran, Navdeep Singh Jaryal Raj Kumar, Rachel Ho Yann Shiuan, Sonia Jhala and Peony Wee Ying Ping.
The names of Masahiro Ozaki of Japan and China national Lu Qi were also listed.
Following the ceremony, Masidi planted 18 native Agathis trees near the monument.
He said he was touched to learn that Sonia’s family, as well as the families and friends of some of the Singaporean victims had climbed the mountain on the first anniversary of the disaster.
The Singaporean families and friends also held a memorial ceremony at Laban Rata on the mountain yesterday.
According to Masidi, a second summit route from Laban Rata, dubbed the Kota Belud trail, would be open in a month’s time.
“This will be more for the adventurous climbers because it involves the use of ropes,” he said.
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