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Lost climber did not have entry permit, says director

BATU PAHAT (BERNAMA) – The climber who got lost at Gunung Banang two days ago was found to have not applied for a permit to enter the permanent forest reserve area as required, according to the Johor Forestry Department.

Director Salim Aman said the initial investigation found that the climber and his family did not apply for the permit, which is an offence under Section 47 (1)(c) of Johor’s National Forestry (Adoption) Enactment 1985.

If found guilty, an offender can be fined not exceeding MYR10,000 or jailed for up to three years or both.

Salim said the findings of the investigation also revealed that the climber and his family had entered the forest after 4pm to climb to the top of the mountain.

“The climb was found to have violated the rules set by the Forestry Department which states that the activity should start no later than 2pm to ensure that climbers can come out before 7pm.

“The Johor Forestry Department has staff on duty at the entrance of the climbing track daily, usually from 8am to 3.30pm, to monitor the climbing activities and ensure compliance with the stipulated rules and procedures,” added Salim.

Therefore, he said, the department will conduct further investigations including recording statements from the climber and his family members for further action.

He also advised the public, especially mountain hiking enthusiasts, to comply with the rules and standard operating procedures, obtain permits, and adhere to climbing times for their own safety.

Meanwhile, Batu Pahat district deputy police chief Superintendent Shahrulanuar Mushaddat Abdullah Sani confirmed the incident involved a 45-year-old local man, adding that the police received a report at 10.21pm on Saturday.

In a statement, he said the climber, together with his wife and three children had started their climbing activities at about 4.15pm, but the victim returned to the starting checkpoint to send one of his children, who was experiencing leg pain.

“His wife and two children continued to climb to the top and when they returned to the checkpoint, the man was not there and he was said to have climbed again.

“They waited until 7.30pm but he did not show up. They later asked for help from other climbers but failed, and proceeded to make a police report,” he said.

Shahrulanuar Mushaddat said the victim, however, managed to get out on his own and was found in Tanjung Laboh area, about 10 kilometres from the location he was reported missing at 7pm yesterday.

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