KUALA LUMPUR: The government has allocated RM1.48mil for search and rescue (SAR) efforts for Malaysian climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who went missing on Mount Everest, says the Youth and Sports Ministry.
"The funds were from the government as the SAR is operated by the Malaysian government, which includes the Youth and Sports Ministry, Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry.
"This is the estimated cost of the SAR and we need to act quickly since there is a window until May 28 for the operation," ministry secretary-general Dr K. Nagulendran said at a press conference at Parliament building here on Wednesday (May 24).
He also said the funds would be used, amongst others, to hire six sherpas as well as helicopters.
"We're sending professional sherpas only for the SAR," Dr Nagulendran added.
Foreign Ministry consular division undersecretary Datuk Mohammad Ali Selamat said Malaysian officials in Kathmandu have told that the search area has been expanded.
"The search are has been expanded and also includes areas not only in Nepal but also in Tibet. It now includes hiking trails starting from the Tibetan region," he said.
Expedition chief de mission Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, who was present at the press conference, said the search is more challenging as the victim is deaf.
"The rescuers are not able to shout and be heard by him. They need to rely on sight and it is harder at night. Helicopters are also being used," he added.
On Friday, Muhammad Hawari, a participant of the Malaysia Everest 2023 mission, was reported missing. On the same day, Kedah Civil Defence Force (APM) director Lt Col Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, 56, died while climbing to the peak.