Mount Kinabalu to officially reopen on September 1
Mount Kinabalu to reopen on Sept 1
Mount Kinabalu to reopen on Sept 1

SABAH PARKS— Almost three months after Mount Kinabalu was sealed off by the Malaysian authorities following a magnitude 6 earthquake, it will reopen partially next month — and some climbers from Singapore have already expressed their interest to visit.

Malaysian media reports said the park is expected to open from Sept 1, but visitors will be able to climb up to only Laban Rata because trails to the summit, which were damaged by the earthquake, have not been repaired.

When Mount Kinabalu reopens next month, visitors will be able to climb up to only Laban Rata, the last stop for climbers heading to the summit. Photo: Raj Nadarajan

Laban Rata is the last stop for climbers heading to the summit.

The Malay Mail Online reported Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun as saying the number of climbers would be capped at 100 each day, about half the previous number.

The earthquake that struck Sabah on June 5 claimed 18 lives, including those of 10 Singaporeans — seven pupils and two teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS), as well as an adventure guide accompanying them on the trip.

Following the temblor, the Malaysian authorities closed Mount Kinabalu to activities and the federal government previously said it would provide RM10 million (S$3.5 million) for restoration work on the mountain, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Local tour companies contacted yesterday said many customers, including Singaporeans, had indicated their interest in booking trips to Mount Kinabalu from next month to next year.

Ms Lynn Tiang, creative and marketing director of tour company Amazing Borneo, said: “Many are very excited to go back to climb the mountain again.”

Mr Jason Lim, a director of mixed martial arts promoter ONE Championship, said he is planning to climb Mount Kinabalu for the second time at the end of next month.

“When I heard the mountain is going to reopen, I was so happy. I wanted to see the beauty of it again,” said the 32-year-old, whose first trip there was in 2013.

“I hope that by the end of September, I can climb to the peak of the mountain. But to me, it’s the experience that counts, and I look forward to seeing Mount Kinabalu again.”

Mr Yeo Ching Khee, director of X-Trekkers, which organises trips to the mountain, said he had a group of six customers who had booked a trip for next month, but have since scrapped their plans after learning they would not be able to reach the summit.

In Parliament last month, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said no schools here would be allowed to take their students to Mount Kinabalu until its safety is ascertained by the Malaysian authorities.

Since the park was closed, Mt Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association chairman Richard Soibi said his 372 members had been trying to make a living by engaging in other jobs such as farming.

“(When) the mountain opens next month, they (will have) work to do,” he said, although he is unsure whether they will be able to make the same amount of money as they did before the earthquake occurred. “We’ve got to see how it goes.”

Mountain guides usually earn about RM150 to RM170 for each assignment that involves taking their guests up the mountain for a two-day, one-night stay. They usually make one to two trips each week.

Mount Kinabalu to officially reopen on September 1 Reviewed by admin Ucop on 7:15 PM Rating: 5
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