Sunday, July 14, 2013

Assistant minister escapes unscathed in test drive gone wrong

A four-wheel drive vehicle carrying an assistant minister and two other passengers overturned when a test drive stunt went wrong at Travillion Mall here.

The mishap occurred at the opening of the Great Wall Tour of Borneo’s final leg to promote the China-made Great Wall vehicles.

Assistant Youth Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who was taken on a test spin around the venue after launching the event, was sitting in the front passenger seat while Green Oranges Sales and Services Sdn Bhd chief executive SM Mohd Azli SM Nasimuddin and YLH Autoworld Sdn Bhd executive director Hong Boon Pau were in the back seat.

The vehicle was doing a fast reverse spin when one of its rear wheels rose off the ground. It then rolled over and landed on its side, the front windshield and driver’s window were smashed.

Abdul Karim, Azli and Hong emerged unhurt but the driver suffered some cuts on his head and was brought to hospital.

Relating the incident, Abdul Karim said he thought the driver had been a little “overzealous” while reversing.

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“The second attempt of the spin was a little fast, that’s why the car overturned. Any model of car can be in this situation if it goes very fast.

“It’s just unfortunate, one of those things, but it’s a small matter,” he told reporters.

Abdul Karim said he did not panic as he had been in a similar situation before and moreover, they were all wearing seatbelts at the time.

“The driver was slightly injured and I hope he would recover fast. As for myself, I’m all right — don’t worry, just a small scratch on my arm. When the car overturned, the glass in the front broke and it fell on the driver’s side — that’s why he was hurt,” he added.

Azli, whose company is the sole distributor of Great Wall vehicles in Malaysia, said a post-mortem would be held to find out the cause of the accident and prevent similar occurrences in future.

He said this was the first time such a mishap had happened during the company’s road tour of the vehicles.

“We’ve been doing this throughout Malaysia, the same event and the same course. In Borneo this is the seventh time and the last stop, while in the peninsula we’ve already done it 10 times, and we never had this kind of problem before.

“We will do a post-mortem because it involves safety and we must be responsible,” he said, adding that it could be due to human factor.

The Tour of Borneo set off in Kota Kinabalu on May 30 and made its way to Sandakan, Tawau, Miri, Bintulu and Sibu before heading here.

It aims to showcase Great Wall’s H5 and Wingle 5 four-wheel drive models. YLH Autoworld is Great Wall’s authorised dealer in Sarawak.

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