Nineth anniversary of Sabah Earthquake remembered with memorial service

KUALA LUMPUR – It’s been nine years, but Ridwan Md Taib still remembers the chaos that ensued when a 6.1 earthquake hit Sabah’s Ranau district.

He had been on leave and returned to his village of Kampung Lasing about 3km away from the town district.

He was then still working as a firefighter in the Lahad Datu district on the east coast.

Ridwan is now the station chief of Ranau Fire and Rescue.

“I had no other choice and rushed to get my family outside in an open field.

He added, “I saw our household goods and belongings scattered all over the ground as we fled, but I was grateful that the earthquake had not caused structural damage to our home.”

Ridwan paid his respects to those who had died during the solemn service to mark the ninth anniversary since the earthquake on June 5, 2015.

On Wednesday, June 5, the ceremony took place at the Kiau Gap View and Timpohon Gate in Sabah Parks, located at the Kundasang Highlands, approximately 92km away from Sabah’s capital.

Ridwan laying a flower near the brass plaque, which was placed at Timpohon Gate in honour of the 18 people killed by the earthquake.

Standing before the brass plaque with the names of 18 victims, which was erected 2km away from the Timpohon Gate, people observed a moment of silence.

The Timpohon Gate marks the beginning of the climb up the 4,101m high mountain, which is the highest point in Malaysia.

After the earthquake at 7am, a group of Singaporean teachers and students from Tanjong Katong primary school were killed by rock avalanches as they climbed up the mountain.

Four mountain guides from Sabahan also died in the quake.

The heads of the Sabah Parks, Sabah Police, district office and information departments were also present.

Ridwan, a fireman by profession, said he was moved to assist in search and rescue efforts when he heard that there were trapped victims on Mount Kinabalu.

The department was able to get enough people on the ground by utilizing all the available manpower.

“We extend our condolences and sympathy to all of the families. Ranau Fire Department is grateful to all those who were involved in this incident.

He said that the mountain search and recovery (Mosar), unit was always ready for anything. Its personnel were stationed at Mount Kinabalu every day.

Sabah Parks Director Dr Maklarin Lakim stated that the ceremony was held in memory of the 18 souls who lost their lives and to honor the next-of-kin.

This tragedy serves as a reminder that standard operating procedures or safety measures are needed to climb Mount Kinabalu.

This ceremony was also intended to ensure that the climb to the top of the mountain is safe.

He said that “a number of new facilities will be built, including a mountain climbing training centre at the summit as well as the Layang-Layang Hostel at KM4 on the climb route.”

Related Articles