KUALA LUMPUR: An allocation of RM1.48mil will be channelled to search and rescue (SAR) efforts for Malaysian climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim who went missing on Mount Everest, says the Youth and Sports Ministry.
Its secretary-general Dr K. Nagulendran said the allocation was given through the ministry on behalf of the government.
“The funds are from the government since the SAR is operated by the Malaysian government which includes the Youth and Sports Ministry, Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry.
“This is an estimated cost of the SAR and we need to act quickly since there is a window until May 28 for the operation,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building yesterday.
The limited window was due to weather conditions that were predicted to get worse after May 29, said Kelab Eksplorasi Altitud deputy president Murshid Makhtar.
“If the SAR mission is not successful within the remaining period, the operation can only be continued next year during favourable weather conditions,” he said.
Nagulendran also said the money, which will be handed over to the club, would be used to support the SAR operation that would consist of six Sherpas as well as for other equipment required, including helicopters.
“We’re using professional Sherpas only for the SAR,” he said.
Foreign Ministry consular division undersecretary Datuk Mohammad Ali Selamat said Malaysian diplomats in Kathmandu told Wisma Putra that the search area had been expanded.
“The area includes hiking trails that start from the Tibetan region. The operators there have been informed to help us search for Muhammad Hawari.
“The search location has been expanded not only in Nepal but also in areas in Tibet,” he said.
Chief de Mission of the expedition Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, who was also present at the press conference, said the search was difficult because the victim was hearing-impaired.
“The rescuers might not be able to shout out to find him. They rely on vision and it will be harder at night,” he added.
On Friday, Muhammad Hawari, 33, a participant of the ME2023 mission, was reported missing while descending from Camp 4.
On the same day, Malaysian Civil Defence Force Kedah director Lt-Col Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, 56, died in a fall while climbing to the peak.