Sabah minister in crash

(Left) Wrecked vehicle: Firemen inspecting the four-wheel drive at Jalan Kepayan in Sabah Sunday. (Right) Azizah being wheeled out of the emergency room at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - A state minister escaped unhurt after her vehicle spun out of control during a downpour and crashed into a steel railing.

State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun, 57, was heading to the southwestern Beaufort district when the accident occurred at Km6 Jalan Kepayan.

Her bodyguard Sairun Hamid, 51, had serious leg injuries and driver Yousrie Syah, 33, is still under observation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for suspected spinal and head injuries following the 7.45am mishap here yesterday.

Firemen had to cut off a section of the Toyota Prado to free the bodyguard who might lose his severely-crushed leg.

Azizah, who was supposed to attend three official functions in Beaufort, was seated in front when the vehicle veered off the road and crashed into the railing.

State health director Dr Yusof Ibrahim said the state Cabinet minister's condition was stable and added that doctors would continue to monitor her condition.

Kota Kinabalu police chief Asst Comm Ahmad Sofi Zakaria said it was raining heavily when the accident occurred, adding that police were investigating the cause of the mishap.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin and state secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman were among those who visited Azizah in hospital.

Azizah's husband Paiman Abd Karim, 59, said he had breakfast with her before she went off to Beaufort, where she is the assemblyman for the Klias state constituency.

"Moments later, I received a telephone call that my wife was involved in an accident. I'm so thankful she was not hurt," he said.

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