KOTA KINABALU: Everyone whose livelihoods were affected by the closure of Mount Kinabalu to climbers and visitors should be accorded assistance.
This included Porters , Sabah Parks Board of Trustees chairman Dato’ Seri Tengku DZ Adlin said today.
He said there was no difference between porters and mountain guides as these two groups of people’s livelihood depended on the activities around the Mountain.
“We include the porters in any income generating activities around the park,” he said when asked about the porters who seemed to have been left out of receiving assistance from generous members of the public and Non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) among others.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Mt. Kinabalu Porters Association Sabah (MKPAS) Hajimin Wasili, 40, shared that the recent occurrence on June 5, where an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale struck Ranau at 7.15am, caused a lot of damage.
It had caused rock fall and landslides on Mount Kinabalu, destroying the tracks and killing 18 people in the process, including children.
Speaking to Sayangsabah, Hajimin said the mountain had since been closed to facilitate repairs and establishment of alternate routes to the peak.
“Due to the periodic tremours since the June 5 incident, the situation is considered dangerous and as such activities for porters are minimal.”
He said that due to this situation, porters numbering 90 in all were badly affected by the closure of the mountain for tourists and climbers and he expressed his hopes that they would be accorded assistance.
According to him, members of the association were without jobs and had to start planting vegetables or try to look elsewhere for employment due to the recent occurrence
“Most of us have no other jobs as we have always worked here,” Hajimin who has been a porter for more than 20 years said.
“We have families to take care of, and school going children to support. It is getting difficult for us, so we hope we will get the same assistance as our Mountain Guide friends,” he said, adding that porters were also involved in the rescue work during the recent event,
He stressed the situation with the Mountain had impacted on their livelihood tremendously and he hoped they would be accorded assistance in any forms including monetary aids and foodstuff.
On the association, he said the Porters’ association was formed with several objectives including taking care of the welfare of porters and to ensure that they would have a platform to resolve any problems in future.
The porters were given recognition by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah Datuk Masidi Manjun on November 19, 2011 ‘in recognition of their services as dedicated ambassadors of Malaysia’s cherished Mountain and first Heritage Site…”-Sayangsabah