KOTAKINABALU: The porters ofMountKinablufinally received due recognition for their dedication and hardwork in making theBorneo’s tallest mountain a most welcoming and world renowned natural wonder.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun honored the extraordinary men and women with the Minister’s Special Award, the highest recognition for individual or organization who have made an outstanding contribution to the State tourism’s development.
Announcing the award at the Sabah Tourism Awards here Saturday evening, Masidi said the porters, who are mostly locals from the villages surrounding the mountain, were the endilible part of the mountain’s existence and truly worthy recipient of such recognition.
He said Sabah applaud Sir Hugh Low, who was recorded as the first man to conquer Mount Kinabalu in 1851, but more so the State applaud the people upon whose backs that expedition was launched.
“MountKinabaluis revered by the surrounding indigenous communities as the sacred resting place of the dead and the villagers have to overcome tremendous trepidation to even venture into the cloud shrouded peaks on the summit. Yet, they did. And they paved the way for even more successful botanical expeditions in the late 19th and 20th century which brought to light the incredible biodiversity and beauty ofMountKinabalu.
“Today, they continue their tradition of transporting essential goods and services for climbers of the Mount Kinabalu Summit Trail… They are the representation of the strength and courage of the human spirit to do what is necessary to bring pride, honour and respect for the mountain,” said Masidi, to the applause from the audience.
He said the award was presented to the porters in recognition of their services as dedicated ambassadors of the country’s cherished mountain and first World Heritage Site.
Their perseverance in the face of hardships and challenges, he added, enabled visitors from all over the world to experience the beautifulMountKinabalu.
Masidi also presented the same award to two other recipients, one of them sports veteran Datuk Balwant Singh Kler, in recognition of his dedication to sports and sports development inSabah.
Former state and national athlete, he said Balwant is also well known as the imposing and authoritative Race Director of the Sabah Dragon Boat Race and Mount Kinabalu Climbathon, two events that have placedSabahon the map as a premier sports venue internationally.
The other recipient was TVB Hong Kong, in appreciation of their works encompassing movies, dramas and documentaries films on locations in Sabah, which have given invaluable global exposure for the state.
Masidi said the China’s household TV channel has put Sabah in the limelight through their glitzy events and award-winning drama production, including the 2009 made-for-TV drama Bron Rich which was filmed here.
Meanwhile, a total of 40 awards were given to various business and tourism operators in recognition of their excellence and innovative services that support the development of the tourism sector.
Malaysia’s low cost carrier AirAsia won in the best airline category, while Malaysia Airlines Hong Kong and Royal Brunei Airlines respectively won the best airline station and best foreign airline awards.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort won the Excellence in Hotel Award in the five star category, while Abai Jungle Lodge, Kinabatangan and Misompuru Homestay, Kudat won in the best nature lodge and best homestay categories respectively.
No Best Shopping Complex award was given this year as judges felt the quality of services provided by the competing outlets were not up to the standard they were looking for, in particular in terms of the cleanliness of the toilets.