‘Sacred’ mountain nudity caused ‘quake
An earthquake in Malaysia on Friday that has so far claimed 16 lives was caused by the ‘sacrilegious’ act of a group of Europeans who stripped naked on the peak of Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu, according to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, above centre.
According to this report, he condemned the “uncivilised” and disrespectful actions of the ten Europeans, and called for the culprits to be brought to a native court and charged according to local customs. He said at a press conference:
Whether other people believe this or not, it’s what we Sabahans believe. When the earthquake happened, it’s like a confirmation of our beliefs. It is a sacred mountain and you cannot take it lightly.
He added said he had a premonition that something bad was going to happen earlier this week when he saw a flight of swallows circling outside his house during breakfast.
At first I didn’t think anything of it, but after it went on for more than half an hour I knew something was not well. I brought it up with my wife and we bought agreed that something bad was going to happen.
The next day, I was on the way to the airport when the earthquake occurred. To me, when something like this happens, it is a clear connection of the incident to the earthquake that has brought about so much damage and loss of lives.
There is almost certainly a connection [to the nudity]. We have to take this as a reminder that local beliefs and customs are not to be disrespected.
On May 30, the group of ten Europeans including two Canadians, two Dutch and a German national broke away from a party of 27 at the mountain’s summit plateau and proceeded to strip before taking photos.
They were approached and reprimanded by a mountain guide. They allegedly told him to “go to hell” and called him “stupid”.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, who is a Ranau-born Dusun, said that the five identified culprits will be found if they are still in Sabah and will not be allowed to leave until they face action.
Only after will we kick them out and ban them from entering Sabah again.
Masidi said local officials are planning to a traditional ceremony and ritual to appease the spirits as soon as possible.
State police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan said that the five of the tourists were believed to still be in the country and would be barred from leaving at all entry and exit points because of their “gross indecency”.
A local villager who declined to be named said:
The last time we had an earthquake was so long ago. This is more than a coincidence. I think that the spirits were deeply offended by the insolence.