SIGNIFYING 50 YEARS OF ACHIEVEMENTS WITH A CLIMB UP PENINSULAR MALAYSIA’S HIGHEST PEAK

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PENANG, March 2019 – Signifying 50 years of achievements with a 7-day climb is what a group of people have decided to embark on.

Last month, a group of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) staff recently made their way up Mount Tahan, Peninsular Malaysia’s highest summit, as a way to highlight the university’s 50 years’ celebration.

The group, which comprised of the staff from the USM Engineering and Health Campuses and 2 from the USM Alumni, decided to climb up the 2,187 metre peak to commemorate the university’s 50 years and fly the USM flag atop the summit.

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The group, 12 members from the Engineering Campus and 14 more from the Health Campus started their journey from their respective locations and would meet each other later at Kuala Tahan, the spot where the trip for both groups would begin together.

The Engineering Campus team was flagged off by the Dean of the School of Material and Mineral Resources Engineering, Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Syed Fuad Saiyid Hashim, who represented the Campus Director, Professor Dr. Nor Azazi Zakaria.

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Syed Fuad thanked the organisers for successfully organising the expedition for the groups from the two separate campuses.

He then presented the USM flag to the representative of the expedition, Associate Professor Dr. Mohamad Hekarl Uzir from the School of Chemical Engineering. He also stated that this would be the first programme for the USM 50 Years celebration kicked off by the two branch campuses.

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The simple ceremony was also broadcasted via teleconferencing to the group members at the Health Campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan. The group was led by Associate Professor Dr. Raja Azman Raja Awang from the School of Dental Sciences.

Both group then started their journey to the meeting spot later in the afternoon.

The 7-day 6-night trip up Mount Tahan began from Kuala Tahan and would end at Merapoh. They would take the Sungai Relau route, a highly-challenging 90 km hiking route with a number of pit-stops at specified sites.

Both groups reached the banks of Sungai Tembeling past midnight the next day, where they regrouped and repacked their essentials and equipment to travel the next morning.

They started off the next morning with a short boat ride across the river to the other side, where they went to register for permits with the National Park authorities. The next few hikes would require them to stop at several camp sites to rest, as each hiking trip would take them roughly between eight to nine hours.

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The group, accompanied by three guides, got to know each other better as they moved across lush forests, fast-flowing rivers, muddy trails, going up 15 ladders and steep slopes at high altitudes with chilling temperatures. Sleeping bags and tents brought them comfort at night.

They reached the summit on the 5th day with a sense of awe and satisfaction. After taking photos for keepsake and flying the USM flag, they then descended the summit late morning, reaching a campsite later to rest and continuing their descent the next day.

The expedition group members from the USM Engineering and Health Campuses realised that such hardships they faced reflect what the university had endured throughout the past 50 years in becoming what it is now.

Determination, togetherness and good planning are essential in ensuring success in any endeavour, more so in facing the challenges and uncertainties in the future.

They wished the university a Happy 50th Year and may the motto “We Lead’ would continue to fly high in the next 50 years.

Original Text: Mohamad Hekarl Uzir/Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin/Photos: Mount Tahan conquerors

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