A group of western tourists who stripped naked at the peak of Mount Kinabalu last month will be prohibited from leaving Malaysia, as their act of “disrespecting the mountain” could have caused the devastating earthquake that killed at least 13 people.

The earthquake comes a week after a group of foreigners, who included two Canadians, two Dutch and a German national, broke away from their entourage and stripped naked before taking photos at the mountain peak. Sabahans railed against the images, as they consider the mountain sacred and the act of tourists made “mountain spirits mad”.

Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah , Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said that the tourists showed disrespect to the sacred mountain and will face appropriate action according to native laws.