KUNDASANG, Ranau: The Federal government will set up a seismic centre in Sabah to monitor for earthquakes in the state, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
According to him, the unit will be set up on a permanent basis to continue to monitor for any future earthquakes that might recur in the state.
“This is a very important decision that we have made for future needs of the people of Sabah. It will be spearheaded by the Federal Government with the assistance of the relevant agencies in the state,” Muhyiddin told a packed impromptu media conference at the staircase of Liwagu Restaurant situated within the Kinabalu National Park.
Earlier on, during a closed-door briefing session, Muhyiddin was rushed by his security personnel for safety due to a strong tremor which has been on-going for the last 48 hours after the major 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck Mt Kinabalu.
“At the moment, the country already has a geo-science but has yet to have a specific unit to monitor earthquake,” said Muhyiddin.
The deputy prime minister said it was an immediate step taken as a result of the recent earthquake which led to the realisation of the urgency of setting up such as a unit.
Muhyiddin who is also the education minister, said the country would need experts in earthquakes especially from Japan to be engaged by the government to construct or to rebuild schools and other government buildings to withstand earthquake and tremors.
“I have visited the Ranau Mosque this morning and I saw that the damage was so bad that we need to build a new one which may cost up to RM7 mil to RM8 million. In so far as all the schools are concerned, there are no major damages. They just need repairs which may cost a few millions.
Muhyiddin also gave the assurance that the federal government would provide all the necessary finance assistance for Sabah and the victims affected by the Friday earthquake as an immediate response to the disaster.
“We will not overlook the needs of Sabahans. They will not be neglected. We will provide whatever they need, just like what we did for the flood victims in Peninsular Malaysia recently. For this need, we will give fair and square. Everybody will be treated equally. Of course, we have to give Sabah special treatment as well.”
He announced RM5,000 to all the Malaysians who were killed and another RM5,000 matching cash grant from the state government.
For those injured, the federal government would also give RM2,000 per person and a match of RM2,000 from the state government.
Muhyiddin also announced RM1,000 cash each for those who were traumatised by the incident while at the mountaintop.
As for the mountain guides, he said the federal government would give reasonable compensation for their heroic and selfless acts by promising financial assistance especially for those who have been helping in the search and rescue operation.
“We need to recognise their efforts. They are the ones who are the unsung heroes. They were the ones up there and they did their job and they actually executed it well. And perhaps due to their efforts, they have reduced the number of casualties.
“We would like to offer our condolences to the victims and their families. We pray that they will remain patient at this trying time. For those who have been doing the search and rescue, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank them as well.”
Present at the press conference were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman, deputy chief ministers Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussain.