Malaysian minister believes disrespectful tourists caused earthquake

This was the silly lead paragraph of story by Digital Journal:

A group of western tourists who stripped naked at the peak of Mount Kinabalu last month will be prohibited from leaving Malaysia, as their act of “disrespecting the mountain” could have caused the devastating earthquake that killed at least 13 people.

Could have? No it couldn’t. They left out some VERY important information, don’t you think?

Malaysian minister blames naked foreign tourists for earthquake

An earthquake measuring 5.9 struck Sabah on Friday, causing landslides on Mount Kinabalu. Thirteen climbers have so far been confirmed dead.

Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said that the tourists showed disrespect to the sacred mountain and will face appropriate action according to native laws.

Whether other people believe this or not, it’s what we Sabahans believe. When the earthquake happened, it’s like a confirmation of our beliefs.There is almost certainly a connection. We have to take this as a reminder that local beliefs and customs are not to be disrespected.

So the story is that the LOCALS BELIEVE the disrespect caused the earthquake. Those two words are VERY IMPORTANT. It’s demonstrably not true that disrespect for any entities directly causes catastrophes, since we are fully aware that earthquakes are caused by natural processes that don’t need a special supernatural force. While it’s not too far fetched to agree with the locals in that certain acts by visitors can be actively discouraged, taking it beyond that to say that the acts CAUSED the incident is fallacious. Time to move into the modern age. By understanding what really causes disasters allows us to better prepare and take meaningful actions to save lives. Although, sudden unpredictable incidents happen. It’s a risk you take for living in a geologically active area. An occasional naked person is not a cause of a disaster, but an ignorant government official could be.

Tip: @DennisDufrene on Twitter


Four tourists, including a British woman, who posed naked on a Malaysia mountain considered sacred are jailed for three days and given fines.

Source: Mount Kinabalu naked photo accused jailed – BBC News

  9 comments for “Malaysian minister believes disrespectful tourists caused earthquake

  1. RandyRandy
    June 7, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    What modern age? While we Westerners scoff at the absurd superstitions of the Sabahans, here in the US at least, far too many folks still believe in ridiculous woo such as The Secret (power of intention), Reiki, psychic healing, ghosts, past lives, karma, magic crystals, and that water has memory (homeopathy). We have government offices for faith-based initiatives, and some of our religious leaders claim that gay marriage and abortions cause hurricanes and floods. Conservatives in our government are still trying to ban science teaching in our schools. How are these beliefs different than those in Sabah? Because they’re not US law? The Sabahans’ beliefs would be welcome in much of the Deep South and here in “enlightened” California. This is a disturbing story, but it sounds too much like what many of my friends believe, ie “everything happens for a reason”. We may be now living in 2015, but too many of our peers are still in the Dark Ages.

  2. GrahamH
    June 7, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    How cool would that be for volcanologists? You want to provoke an earthquake, an eruption, whatever…… just strip naked and here comes your science experiment on cue. A bit like those atmospheric scientists who shoot wires into the sky to create lightening strikes.

  3. Jeff
    June 7, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    Linking the cause of the earthquake to acts of nudity is ridiculous, but why are these people naked on the mountain? The fact is that these tourists made themselves a convenient target by acting stupid. I am a little suspicious when I read that they left their main group to do this activity. Now the respective consulates will have to spend time and money to extricate these people from the mess they got themselves into. Hopefully, Malaysia will just fine them for public indecency, collect money from each of them, and send them home.

  4. sree
    June 8, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    I am a Malaysian, and let me just say that the issue here did not start of due to the earthquake. They were already in trouble with the local authorities days before the quake.

    Of course the stripping tourists did not cause the quake. Most here accept that. It’s more to do with them not respecting local customs.
    Stripping on top of hills maybe ok elsewhere but it’s against the law here. What’s the harm in respecting local customs or beliefs?
    A hefty fine should suffice as punishment.

  5. Steve Chaput
    June 8, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    While it may be a silly superstition, I have no sympathy for the tourists acting like jerks. Let them sit in a cell and think about it.

  6. June 9, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    I don’t know, running around nude seems less obnoxious to me than littering.

  7. Sree
    June 11, 2015 at 5:22 AM

    Both are offenses at the place in question. Just that littering is difficult to prosecute since it’s near impossible to tell who threw what where on a mountain top.

    We need not agree with the law but we must follow it, or change it through legal means. The tourist knew what they were doing is wrong, so they deserve being punished.

    Point to note here – they are being charged with act of indecency not for causing earthquake.

  8. Boatcrash
    June 12, 2015 at 2:33 AM

    The fact that we all know the earthquake was not caused by nudity is completely beside the point. What is pertinent is the total disrespect of local beliefs and culture. Not that it surprises me – tourists disrespect my country all the time by shitting all over it.

  9. Senua
    June 18, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    Any amount of abuse can be done in the name of religion or local customs. There used to be quaint old customs in the UK such as burning people accused of being witches and dunking woman in water for talking too much to name but two. This isn’t acceptable anymore in the UK but it continues elsewhere. Stonings, honour killings, mutilation the list goes on and on. As long as people pander to such beliefs such atrocities will continue. Such beliefs have also made people ashamed of nakededness and talking about sex. Society would be a whole lot better if such outmoded beliefs were disgarded.

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