Eastern parts of Sabah may be hit by quakes in future

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AFP) - Eastern parts of Sabah - namely Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau - could be hit with earthquakes in the future.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Head Department of Geotechnics and Transportation and Head of Geoengineering and Geohazard Research Group, Faculty of Civil Engineering Assoc Prof Dr Edy Tonnizam Mohamad however said on Wednesday he did no know when the areas would be hit.

"Nobody can predict when it (earthquake) will hit the eastern parts of Sabah but it is better for us to be fully prepared from now," he said at a press conference here.

Dr Edy said that based on research conducted on Sabah earthsurface and historical figures recorded over the years there were minor earth movements taking place in the state.

He said however the recorded earth movements were too weak to cause major damage to the areas but they could accumulate in years resulting in an earthquake similar to the Ranau tragedy last Friday when a 6.0-magnitude quake struck near the picturesque Mount Kinabalu.

The tremblor triggered thunderous landslides that obliterated sections of trail on the peak in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island. Eighteen people have been confirmed killed in the natural disaster.