KOTA KINABALU: Exercise enthusiasts could be seen waiting eagerly outside the gates of Taman Ujana Rimba Tropika here at dawn as recreational activities were allowed in the state capital today.
They arrived way before the park opened at 6am so as not to miss the opportunity to enter the park as Kota Kinabalu City Hall (KKCH) set a limit of 50 people at any one time for two hours of exercise.
They also wanted to take advantage of the morning sunlight and fresh air after being confined indoors due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).
KKCH Landscape Department director Rozie Khan Halik, when met at Ujana Rimba, said besides this park, the other recreational spot open is Taman Tun Fuad Stephens, a popular hiking spot for adventure seekers.
Both the parks would close at 6pm.
"I notice the people started waiting outside the gate at 5.30am, maybe they came early to get the number as we have limited (entrance) to 50 persons.
"Furthermore, after 8am it will be too hot to exercise as the sun begins to rise," said Rozie, adding that the standard operating procedures (SOP) were adhered to, including screening body temperature and check-ins with the MySejahtera App.
He advised the public to exercise self-discipline and leave the park after they are done to give a chance to others because they cannot rely on enforcement personnel to inform them their time is up.
Rozie said no hiking activities were allowed at Taman Tun Fuad because that would take more than two hours to complete.
"We only allow the public do jogging and physical exercises because we don't want to risk seeing a hiker struck down inside the jungle due to the pandemic, it would take time for the ambulance to arrive at the scene," explained Rozie.
A group of women could be seen dancing happily to relieve stress at Ujana Rimba after almost a month of lockdown at home.
"Since the SOP says we cannot have more than 10 persons for group exercise, we opened registration for our members on a first come first serve basis.
"Although we have a studio, we want to enjoy the morning sunlight, a natural source of vitamin. We have about 30 members, so we will take turns to exercise in the park," said dance instructor Anna Chai, whose group does folk, line and square dances.
Ujana Rimba is also home to the Kota Kinabalu Funei Li Style Taiji Association Sabah.
Its president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said since group exercise was limited to 10 persons a time, they had to divide the practitioners into two groups – one at the monument and the other at the open shelter.
"We also split the practising time in two sessions so that everyone got a chance to exercise, which is very necessary to enhance our body immune system in order to fight Covid-19," he said.
However, he hopes the local authority could increase the limit to 100 persons at a time since Ujana Rimba is quite a big park.