World

Sabah locals want nude tourists punished for "causing earthquake"

It's not just the deputy chief minister who is upset.

Some angry Sabah locals are blaming the recent earthquake on a group of 10 foreign tourists who stripped naked on Mount Kinabalu and took pictures of themselves.

The snapshots have been widely circulated online.

They believed this indecent act had angered the spirits of the mountain, BBC News and Washington Post reported.

The local Kadazan and Dusun communities believe that Mount Kinabalu is the resting place for the spirits of their ancestors - and disrespecting the mountain will result in bad incidents.

Trekkers reaching the summit of the 4,095m Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. PHOTO: ST FILE

Yesterday (June 9), The Malay Mail Online reported Ranau native chief Taip Rashman saying that the tourists should pay "sogit" - a form of appeasement - which can take the form of money or livestock.

An example of such a payment would be 10 head of buffalo if the transgression is serious and 10 head of chicken or pig for less serious offences.

He said:

"They committed the act of breach here.

"They should face our native court and pay the 'sogit' here."

He added that the charges against the tourists will be taken from the Native Court Enactment 1995.

If found guilty of indecency, the foreigners can be jailed for up to three months or fined or both.

If convicted, the nudity charge would be the first-ever for the indigenous courts.

On May 10, a local guide in Sabah found himself in a frustrating situation when 10 tourists under his care split from his large group of hikers and started stripping atop Mount Kinabalu's South Peak.

His pleas for them to stop fell on deaf ears.

The guide claimed that the six men and four women then made crude gestures at him and called him "stupid" and told him to "go to hell".

Other pictures of these naked tourists online show them urinating on the mountain in the nude.

Malaysian media had previously reported that Sabah's deputy chief minister, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, believes the tourists' actions are connected to the deadly quake.

He said:

"The quake can be taken as a confirmation of what we feared could be the consequence of their actions.

"We have to take this tragedy as a reminder that local beliefs and customs cannot be disrespected."

While not everyone think the tourists' stunt caused the disaster, many agree that the incident was insulting.

Four men and women out of the 10 tourists have been detained by the Malaysian authorities.

Sources: BBC News, Washington Post and The Malay Mail Online

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