Saturday, August 8

Daily quota review for Mt Kinabalu trekkers


KOTA KINABALU: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said Sabah is reviewing the number of people allowed to trek up Sabah’s Mount Kinabalu daily after a German tourist fell to her death on Monday.

He said it was important for those climbing to the summit to obey the rules set by Sabah Parks.

“The rules are there for a reason, to ensure their safety,” he said yesterday.

Masidi explained that all climbers were briefed before the climb and accompanied by well-trained guides but from past cases, investigations revealed that mishaps occurred because of the climbers’ indiscretion where they ventured away from their group.

According to the Sabah Tourism Board, a maximum of 196 climbers are allowed daily.

Victoria Poulsen, a 22-year-old university student in China, slipped and fell 30 metres to her death from Low’s Peak after she had stepped outside the fenced area to take photographs of the sunrise.

Masidi said he was waiting for the full report of the incident.

“I will ask for a full briefing after all the investigations are completed and we will take it from there,” he said, adding that Sabah Parks as well as the police would be conducting their own investigations into the case which happened early Tuesday morning.

Masidi said that at the moment the facts were still sketchy as he had not received the full report.

This is because the victim’s remains and her group members only arrived back to Kinabalu Park headquarters late Tuesday evening.

“I am still waiting for the full report from Sabah Parks and maybe from the police too as they will also be conducting their own investigations into the case. So it is not appropriate for us to make any assumptions at this moment because we are waiting for the detailed report.

“I was made to understand that she was travelling with four friends. The little fact that we know is that they only realized that she had gone missing when they noticed that she was no longer with the group.

“This is a very unfortunate incident. I would describe this as freak accident because mishaps do not normally happen at the summit, it would occur along the trail going up. I am as shocked as many people that this happened at the summit of Mount Kinabalu,” he said.

Masidi also urged the media or anyone who has photographs of the late Victoria’s remains not to publish them or to share them on social media.

“Please do not publish photographs that are insensitive to the victim’s family. It is important for us to have some form of decorum on the sort of photos that we publish. We must take into consideration the sensitivity of the immediate family,” he said.

“All of us in Sabah would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and we are really, really sorry that it happened in Sabah. Sabah Parks will do whatever it can within its own limitation to make the laws better,” he said.