KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Sabah is hoping to re-open Mount Kinabalu to climbers by September, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
However, the number of climbers would be limited to fewer than 100 per climb for safety purposes.
Masidi said the mountain has been closed to climbers since June 5 following an earthquake. Climbers would only be allowed up the mountain again once restoration work was completed.
"However, we will reduce the number of climbers by half compared to previously (from about 192 to 90 per trip), as the safety of climbers is of utmost priority," he told reporters after handing over contributions to victims of the earthquake that killed 18 people.
"We do not want to take a risk by maintaining the number as in the past," Mr Masidi said.
"Restoration work on the climbing routes, with the aid of technical expertise, is continuing and we hope it would be ready by early September," he said adding that any delay would be due to aftershocks.
"The aftershocks continue to occur and, up to yesterday, 91 aftershocks have been recorded," he added.
On June 5, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the mountain, causing rocks and boulders as large as small houses to tumble down and strike people in its path.
Earlier in the event organised by the National Security Council, Mr Masidi handed over RM2,000 aid to each of 90 victims of the earthquake in Kundasang.
Those who wish to be updated on the Mount Kinabalu restoration work can log on to the Sabah Parks website at www.sabahparks.org.my.