Ritual conducted on Malaysian mountain to appease spirits

Kuala Lumpur, June 20: A ritualistic animal sacrifice was conducted at the foothill of Malaysia's sacred Mount Kinabalu on Saturday aimed to appease the mountain spirits, just two weeks after an earthquake killed 18 people there.

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck the 13,400-foot-high mountain in Sabah state on June 5, killing 18 people and leaving hundreds stranded, The Malaysian Star reported.


The ceremony at the Kinabalu Park started with a priest slaughtering a buffalo near the Timpohon Gate where climbers begin their trek up the mountain. The ceremony was organised by the Council of Elders of Mount Kinabalu.

According to sources, the council intends to hold another ritual to appease the mountain spirits just before repair works were carried out on the mountain.

Chief Minister of Sabah state, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said Mount Kinabalu, considered sacred to Sabah's indigenous communities, had been desecrated by the 10 foreigners who stripped naked on the mountain on May 30.

Four out of the 10, were sentenced by a Malaysian court on June 12 to three days in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringit ($1,331) over obscene public behaviour.

They all pleaded guilty.


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