A 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Mount Kinabalu area in East Malaysia on Friday morning, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department website.

The quake occurred at some 16 km west of Ranau at around 9.39 am. It lasted for about three seconds and the tremors were felt in Ranau, Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Tuaran.

Ranau police chief Deputy Supt Mohd Farhan Lee said there were no reports of damages or injuries yet.

"We are monitoring the situation," he told The Star Online.

Mountain guide Mollonius Tingdal said he along with several climbers were on their way down from the summit when they felt tremors at Pondok Paka (3,080m).

"It lasted about three seconds and after ensuring everyone was fine, we continued our journey down," Tingdal said.

The employees of a hotel located at the foot of the mountain said the tremors were felt by almost everyone in the building. Many of them had ran out of the building for fear as they expected something worse.

"It was quite strong and almost felt like last year's fatal quake," hotel receptionist Albianie Tracy said.

"Things returned to normal after a while but we are still worried," she added.