Climbers disobeyed rules, says Johor Forestry Dept

JOHOR BARU: A family of climbers who ran into difficulties recently at the Gunung Banang permanent forest reserve in Batu Pahat allegedly flouted the rules, says the Johor Forestry Department.

Its director Datuk Salim Aman said the group entered the reserve after 4pm on Saturday (May 14).

“Our regulations clearly state that all climbers shall start their activities at designated climbing tracks not later than 2pm," he said in a statement on Monday (May 16).

Salim said this was to ensure that they could leave the forest area before 7pm.

He said the department has officers on duty at the entrance of the climbing track daily from 8am to 3.30pm to monitor activities and ensure that all climbers obey regulations and procedures.

“Our initial investigation showed that the family did not apply for an entry permit into the forest reserve as required," he said.

He added that it was an offence under Section 47(1)(c) of the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985 to enter a forest reserve without a permit in Johor.

If found guilty, an offender could be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.

“We will record statements from the family for further action," he said.

Batu Pahat police received a report of a 45-year-old man losing his way in the forest reserve at 10.21pm on Saturday.

Deputy OCPD Supt Shahrulanuar Mushaddat Abdullah Sani said the hiker, together with his wife and three children, started their activity at about 4.15pm.

“Fifteen minutes later, the man returned to the checkpoint with his daughter, who was experiencing leg pains, while his wife and two sons continued their journey," he said in a statement.

Supt Shahrulanuar said when the woman and her sons came back to the checkpoint at 7.30pm, only her daughter was there, but not her husband.

“Search-and-rescue (SAR) operations involving Fire and Rescue Department personnel and volunteers were conducted until 1am but failed to locate the man," he said.

Supt Shahrulanuar said SAR resumed at 8am on Sunday (May 15) covering an area of 150ha, and the victim was found safe in the Tanjung Labuh area, about 10km from where he was last seen.

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