KUDAT, SABAH (Sept 6 2012) Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) YB Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus JohnityOngkili, today launched the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s Kudat office, at Jalan Lintas, Kudat Airport here.
Sabah presently has six meteorological principal stations in which the Kudat Meteorological Office was first established as the fifth station in 1979. The station had then operated mainly for weather observations as well to issue advisories to several local authorities in Kudat.
With the completion of this new building which cost RM3.3mil in November 2011, the station has been upgraded as a Meteorological Office and also functioning as part of the Geophysics and Tsunami Network in Malaysia. The Kudat Meteorological Office is also one of the two earthquakes and tsunami monitoring offices in Sabah besides the Tawau Meteorological Office.
As part of the Geophysics and Tsunami Network, the office plays an important role in ensuring the Malaysia National Tsunami and Early Warning System (SAATNM) functions smoothly. In Kudat, there are four (4) components of the SAATNM system which are placed at various locations such as the siren at the Customs Office, coastal camera at the General Operation Centre, tidal gauge and seismic station at Kudat Harbour and Kampung Pinangsoo, Kudat.
This office is capable of monitoring all components of SAATNM throughout the country, with the exception of tsunami siren, on real time basis round-the-clock as well as having access to all related information issued by the Geophysics and Tsunami Center at the MMD headquarters.
The earthquake and tsunami monitoring office was set up in Kudat as the northern part of the west coast of Sabah is vulnerable to tsunami threats in an event strong undersea earthquake occurs in the Manila Trench, the Sulu Trench and the Negros Trench.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili said that the government has spent more than RM22.7million under the Ninth and Tenth Malaysia Plan to develop meteorological infrastructures in Sabah of which RM12.1 million was for meteorological equipment and RM10.6 million for physical infrastructure.
For the physical infrastructure, RM3.3 million was spent for the building of the Kudat Meteorological Station, RM2.69 million for meteorological station and quarters in Keningau, RM3.58 million for meteorological station and quarters in Ranau and RM1.02million for renovation of the meteorological station and building of quarters in Tawau.
“For earthquake and tsunami monitoring, the government has spent more than RM35.5 million for the National Tsunami and Early Warning System, of which RM5.5 million was spent for the system in Sabah.”
“These include the installation of 6 seismic stations, 5 tidal gauge stations, 7 sirens and 5 coastal cameras; each of which are installed in Kudat. The government has also set up two strong motion stations this year in Ranau and Danum Valley” he said. Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus added that for dissemination of information to the public, MMD will send out early warning through the agencies involved in disaster management, including via SMS, within ten minutes after the occurrence of an earthquake.
“With the measures undertaken, the earthquake and early tsunami warning monitoring system for Malaysia especially in Sabah is adequate and according to international standards. Our emergency response system operates at its optimum to ensure that if a disaster were to occur the impact would be minimal to the people of Sabah,” he said.
Apart from that, JMM also cooperates with the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) in the installation of an Environmental Radiation Monitoring System (ERMS) at the Kudat Office in 2006 to measure radiation level and monitor the radiation exposure.
In conjunction with the launch, an exhibition was held to enable the public to learn about the facilities and services available at the Kudat Meteorology Office.
The opening ceremony was also attended by various government agencies and private sector, local community leaders, students and the public. A Hari Raya celebration is also held where several children from orphanages participated.