IN the wake of the earthquake that shook Sabah's Mount Kinabalu last week, Monday has been made a Day of National Remembrance, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said on Sunday.
"State flags on all Government buildings will be flown at half-mast. One minute of silence will be observed at the beginning of the day at all SEA Games venues," it said.
As of Sunday, six students and one teacher from Tanjong Katong Primary School were confirmed dead following the 6.0-magnitude earthquake which struck Sabah last Friday. An adventure guide, who had accompanied the students, also died. They had been part of a group of 29 pupils and eight teachers who were on an overseas learning trip to Kota Kinabalu. One teacher and one student remain missing.
The PMO statement on Sunday said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was "deeply saddened" by the deaths of the eight Singaporeans. "On behalf of all Singaporeans, the Prime Minister expresses his deepest condolences and sympathies to their families and loved ones. As we grieve over the loss of these young lives, we also take heart that they were striving to stretch their limits and take on new challenges," the statement said.
"The Prime Minister also thanks all those who are working tirelessly in the search, rescue and recovery efforts - the Malaysian authorities, the search and rescue teams, the hospital staff, and all the officers and volunteers who are helping in one way or other in Sabah and Singapore."
President Tony Tan Keng Yam said he and Mrs Tan were deeply saddened by the deaths of the eight Singaporeans. "They were in Kota Kinabalu on a learning visit when an earthquake struck Sabah last Friday. Our condolences go to their families and loved ones during this difficult period for them. We are hoping and praying that the student and teacher who are still missing will be found soon."
On Sunday evening, The Star reported that the number of casualties on Mount Kinabalu stood at 18, of whom 16 are confirmed dead and two are missing and presumed dead. Sabah's Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun told The Star that rescue operations were being scaled down but would continue on Monday.