NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Nineteen years ago, Mohd Akmal Jamal witnessed participants BASE jumping from KL Tower.

The then 15-year-old boy told himself that “I will do that one day”, and today he fulfilled his dream.

Mohd Akmal was among 103 jumpers participating in the Kuala Lumpur Tower International Jump Malaysia (KLTIJM) 2019 event.

Now 34, the Movie Animation Park Studios stunt performer said he felt “reborn” after his first jump from the 300m-high sky deck.

“BASE jumping from KL Tower was always a goal that I wanted to achieve. I never thought that I could achieve the goal this year as I had just started BASE jumping for a year.

“My senior recommended me after seeing my improvement because the KLTIJM is a high-profile event and we don’t want to mess up.

“My seniors coached me and I had joined several other BASE jump events in the country, including The Shore Sky Tower and Hatten in Melaka a few months ago,” he told reporters at the KL Tower today.


NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

BASE jumping involves parachuting or wingsuit flying from a fixed structure. BASE is an acronym for the four types of fixed objects where a jumper can set off from — building, antenna, span and earth.

Akmal said it was a huge challenge for him and he appreciated his life more after each jump.

“There is no room for error. It’s different from skydiving; I can only rely on one parachute. I feel reborn with each jump and I am always thankful when I complete the jump unscathed. I target to jump 10 times per day during this four-day event,” he said.

KLTIJM is the last of a series of BASE jump events in Malaysia this year. The other locations for the events were the Alor Star Tower, Gua Damai Xpark in Batu Caves and Wisma Sanyan in Sibu.

Akmal’s friend, 42-year-old Mohd Nor Feirkhan, said he never imagined he could complete the jump due to his age.

“My father was a commando and skydiving instructor. I grew up watching him skydive and I always wanted to follow in his footstep when I was young. Unfortunately, I was rejected as I did not meet the physical requirements to be a skydiver.

“But my passion in skydiving re-emerged in 2015 when I met Akmal and several seniors. I have been skydiving since then, but I only started to do BASE jumps early this year after I found out about this event in March.”

Mohd Nor said it was a dream come true for him after he jumped off KL Tower today.

“Sometimes I ask myself, ‘can I do this?’. But I receive a lot of encouragement from my seniors and I don’t want to disappoint them. I did the best jump that I could.

“I will take part in this event again next year if I receive the invitation,” he said.

For American Brooke Brown, 31, who had BASE jumped for about 600 times around the globe, said her aim was to complete the jumps without injury.

“This is my first time jumping from KL Tower. It was great and I’m ready to do more.


NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

“KL Tower is not the highest that I had jumped as the highest I have tried was in Italy; I jumped from 4,000ft (1,219m)-high mountain in Italy. I will also doing night jumps this time,” said Brown.

Meanwhile, Menara Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Mohamed said a total of 103 jumpers from 25 countries participated in the 19th KLTIJM.

He said although it was slightly hazy today, the condition did not affect the event.

“The haze has improved compared to previous days. We provided face masks in case the jumpers needed it. We will only halt the event when the Air Pollutant Index breached the unhealthy level.

“The event will go on as long as the jumpers able to see the landing spots. We will also stop the event if there are strong winds and rain,” he told reporters after the flag-off ceremony here today.

Razlan said the event has put Malaysia on the map as a destination for extreme sports tourism.

“It will help promote the ‘Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020’ campaign to both local and international tourists.

“We expect the jumpers to return as many of them already asked about the dates for next year’s event. They want to plan for their leave,” he said.