Updates from the Ministry of Education at on 8 June, 12.20pm: A Tanjong Katong Primary School student, who was hospitalised in Kota Kinabalu, has returned to Singapore today, and has been conveyed to a hospital here for further medical treatment. Malaysian authorities have informed our government officials in Kota Kinabalu that the search continues for student Navdeep Singh Jaryal S/O Raj Kumar, and teacher Mohammad Ghazi Bin Mohamed.
Even as the death toll was confirmed, criticism has arisen about the rescue efforts by the Malaysian government following the earthquake, measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, at Mt Kinabalu that claimed the lives of seven students and teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary School.
Commenting on her Facebook page, Ms Vee Jin Dumlao, an Australian climber who was among 137 climbers on the peak when the 7.15am quake hit, said that her group was left strantd after the quake blocked their exit and there was “no certainly of rescue”.
Ms Dumlao criticised the Malaysian rescue efforts, as the emergency workers “congregated in groups sharing smokes and food that were meant for survivors. Help at the critical areas didn’t arrive till 9 hours later”.
The Malaysian authorities had said bad weather prevented the rescue helicopter from landing, but Ms Dumlao said that conditions were good by 4pm, yet the stranded climbers were still left stranded overnight – cold, hungry and at the mercy of bad whether.
She also said that the helicopter had dropped off aid supplies too inaccessible for them to reach, and it was the local guides who “made some difficult decisions that ultimately saved our lives”.
“They could have made it down the mountain quickly on their own with their agility. Yet they stayed and did what they could to meet our needs. They risked continuing tremors and rockfalls to refill our bottles with water from the nearest hut.”
“I witnessed guides, not emergency workers, securing the injured onto stretchers which they carry down the mountain.”
It is not known if the rescuers might be focusing attention on more critical areas of the disaster zone.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier thanked all participating in the rescue efforts, including the Malaysian authorities, the search and rescue teams and hospital staff in Kota Kinabalu.
Adapted from media reports.