KOTA KINABALU: Climbing activities at Mount Kinabalu resume today, upon clearance following a field damage assessment.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said via Twitter that a technical team of 47 people led by Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais confirmed that the summit trail and all ancillary facilities were unaffected by the earthquake.
“On their recommendation, I have lifted the suspension to climb,” he wrote.
Earlier, Masidi was asked by a concerned netizen how long climbing activities would be suspended, as tours had been planned.
Masidi replied that field evaluation was being conducted at the time, adding that the evaluation and recommendation from the team would determine how soon the climbing suspension could be lifted.
“We are as eager as you to reopen as soon as possible,” he added.
Shortly after, Jamili updated his own Twitter account with a photo of Panar Laban Hut at Laban Rata, captioned “all is well up here on Mount Kinabalu.”
Meanwhile, Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta) president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said the 5.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Sabah on Thursday has minimal impact on the tourism industry.
Hesaid the tremor this time was not as strong as the 6.1 magnitude earthquake back in 2015 and no casualties were reported.
“The earthquake will not have any major impact on the local tourism industry.”
He said tourists had not expressed concern over the quake.
“This was not like the earthquake in Hualian, Taiwan that caused an entire hotel to collapse,” he said.
Liaw said his travel agency, Airworld Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, had cancelled Mount Kinabalu climbing itinerary for its clients and made the necessary refunds, as per the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun’s order of a temporary suspension on all climbing activities at the mountain to assess the damage on the facilities.
Liaw said the Mount Kinabalu climb was always fully booked and climbers were required to book in advance to secure a spot.
Nonetheless, Liaw said sightseeing tours to Ranau was not affected as there was no road damage reported.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) Sabah Chapter chairman Lawrence Wong said the earthquake hardly has any impact on the overall tourism industry.
Wong, who is also the managing director of Times Holidays Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, said sightseeing tours to Ranau would still be on.
He urged the people not to spread fake information or false news about the earthquake on social media.
Jiang Ruo Wei, vice general manager of China International Travel Service of Gansu Province, said her province was also prone to earthquakes.
She arrived in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday for business purposes.
Jiang was in her room at the Cititel Express at Asia City when the quake occurred but she did not feel the tremor.
Nonetheless, she said the tremor here was considered minor compared to the earthquakes at Gansu.