A Malaysian minster has squarely blamed a group of western tourists who stripped naked atop Mount Kinabalu last month, for the earthquake that devastated the region a little while later.
Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, has blamed the recent earthquake that rocked Malaysia and killed 13 people, besides causing damage to the region, on a wayward group of tourists who chose to strip down naked atop Mount Kinabalu for photos. The tourists have undoubtedly angered the holy spirits and disrespected the mountain by their vile acts, claimed the minister.
The group has been prohibited from leaving the country, and they could soon be formally charged as well. State police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan confirmed that the police has positively identified the five tourists. Though they haven’t been officially arrested so far, the group won’t be allowed to leave the country. All the entry and exit points are being monitored in case they decide to make a break for it.
Though the Malaysians will decide if the tourists did indeed cause the earthquake, the unfortunate bunch did indulge in the shameful act merely a week before the natural disaster struck the region. The earthquake, measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, struck Sabah’s west coast on Friday, causing landslides on Mount Kinabalu. The cascading mud has so far claimed 13 climbers, but reports indicate as many as 137 climbers might still be stranded at various altitudes.
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The offending tourists include two Canadians, two Dutch,and a German national, who broke away from their larger entourage to perform the lewd acts and photographed the same. Locals have strongly protested such behavior that is becoming increasingly common in other parts of the world.
The regional population considers the mountain sacred and strongly believes the act of tourists made “mountain spirits mad.” Speaking about the incident, Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan made a statement.
“The tourists showed disrespect to the sacred mountain and will face appropriate action according to native laws. 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. There is almost certainly a connection. We have to take this as a reminder that local beliefs and customs are not to be disrespected.”
Local Kadazan Dusun tribal group has organized a ceremony to appease the spirits of Mount Kinabalu. Meanwhile, the tourists who couldn’t keep their clothes on atop the mountain have been allowed to consult their respective consulates.
Update: Local news agencies have confirmed that all of the 137 climbers have been safely brought down.
[Image Credit | John W Banagan / Getty Images, Facebook]