KAME Everest climb aimed at showcasing M’sia’s diversity halted by insufficient funds
Keluarga M’sia Everest 2022 sponsor pulls out of expedition comprising ten diverse climbers at 11th hour due to financial constraints
KUALA LUMPUR – What better way to showcase Malaysia’s diversity than to have a unified team of mountaineers comprising the nation’s ethnic and cultural mix surmount Mount Everest − the highest peak in the world – to wave the Jalur Gemilang?
That is the goal set for the Keluarga Malaysia Everest 2022 (KAME 2022) expedition team, which is represented by ten Malaysian climbers from different races, religions and backgrounds.
However, the expedition has hit a steep wall that no climber can overcome on their own − financial limitations.
According to the expedition’s 33-year-old leader and Altitude Exploration Club president Azim Afif Ishak, a sponsor of the trip had pulled out at the 11th hour. Azim said the respective sponsor had withdrawn their contribution due to financial constraints − halving the team’s required budget to complete the mission.
The entire expedition is estimated to cost RM2.5 million.
“With our sponsor pulling out at the last minute, we will only be able to send two or three climbers to the summit,” Azim said to The Vibes from Nepal.
“This would defeat the purpose of our mission, which is to see ten climbers from different backgrounds stand together as Malaysians on top of the world − to stand as one, as a keluarga (family),” he said.
Azim had conquered the 8,839m peak of Everest in 2016 via Tibet and the current trip would see the team climb via the Nepal route.
In 2014, Azim reached the peak of Cho Oyu, Tibet − the sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,188m above sea level − which offers its climbers views of Everest and the surrounding Himalayan peaks.
The entire KAME expedition, which is expected to last 63 days, had the group arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 15.
They were expected to begin their ascent to the top of Everest sometime in the third week of May as climbers must wait for the right weather window to safely complete the journey up and down the mountain.
Aside from Azim, another brave climber bearing the Malaysian flag is 32-year-old Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who is hearing-impaired. If the mission was successful, he would be the first disabled Malaysian to set foot on Everest.
The team includes 2002 world silat champion Rina Jordana Adnan, 42, as well as Ahmad Murshid Maktar, 35, Ayu Wanirah Naharuddin, 29, and Oh Jin Heng, 37.
The expedition also has Kedah Civil Defence Force director Lieutenant Colonel (PA) Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, 54, and Royal Malaysian Police’s VAT 69 members Kanang Anak Usin, 42, Pragash Murugesu, 32, and Mohammad Hanif Che Ahmad, 28, as part of the team.
Supporting the climbers from base camp will be Federal Territories of KL and Putrajaya deputy director of health (medical) Dr. Roniyuzam Abd Malek and team manager Maizatul Akman Adam.
Malaysian producer and former journalist Khairul Wasiril Aswad was brought on board as well to document the entire expedition for posterity.
Chef de mission for KAME2022 is Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor, who also happens to be the oldest Malaysian to have reached Everest Base Camp (5,334m) at the age of 72. Salleh was Forest Research Institute Malaysia’s first director-general and president of Malaysia’s largest non-governmental organisation − the Malaysian Nature Society − for 30 years.
KAME2022, which is organised by the Altitude Exploration Club in collaboration with the Malaysian government, Youth and Sports Ministry, PDRM and APM, is currently looking into crowdfunding to make their mission to Everest a success.
− The Vibes, April 19, 2022