Wee: 20 Years’ Jail, RM150k Fine for Drunk Drivers

659
- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Proposed amendments to increase penalties for those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be tabled to the Cabinet for approval on Friday (July 17).

Some of the proposed changes:

  • Causing injury and causing death will be differentiated, with the latter seeing more severe punishment.
  • The maximum punishment under Section 44 will be increased from 10 years imprisonment to 15 years and from a RM20,000 fine to RM100,000.
  • For a subsequent offence, the maximum imprisonment period is 20 years and RM150,000 fine.
  • Currently, any person convicted under Section 44 is disqualified from holding a driving licence for five years for the first offence and 10 years for the subsequent offence, but this will be increased to 20 years.
  • Punishment will be mandatory against any person who drives, attempts to drive, or is in charge of a motor vehicle while the alcohol level in the person’s breath, blood, or urine exceeds the prescribed levels.
  • The prescribed alcohol limit will be lowered, in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation, from 35µg/100ml to 22µg/100ml while the limit in blood will be reduced from 80µg/100ml to 50µg/100ml and 107µg/100ml to 67µg/100ml in urine.

Heavier punishments of 20 years in jail and RM150,000 fine will be imposed against repeated offenders on cases involving drink-driving, driving under the influence of drugs and reckless driving.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said first-time offenders, on the other hand, will have to face similar heavy penalties of 15 years in jail and RM100,000 fine.

This is in relation to the amendment of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333), which is in the midst of being finalised.

Currently, the penalties for first-time offenders are 10 years’ imprisonment and RM20,000 fine.

“We are also going to increase the period of licence suspension from 10 years to 20 years. The punishment in this new law will be harsher.

“We are doing this because we are serious about drink-driving and as we all know, this year alone, there are already 12 deaths reported involving drink-driving.

Bernama

“Our warning is simple. If you have been drinking or you are already drunk, do not drive. If you still drive, you will have to pay the price,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Wee said this when asked by Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Umno – Arau) to state the type of penalties that Malaysians can expect from Act 333 before it is implemented.

“The Attorney-General’s Chambers has completed the draft for the proposed amendments which will be brought to Cabinet on July 17.

“Once approved by Cabinet, the proposed amendments will be tabled during the Dewan Rakyat’s current meeting,” We said.

The amendments to Act 333 would involve legal provisions between Section 41 and Section 45, which will see, among others, the imposition of heavier punishments as well as tightening the threshold value of alcohol presence in an individual’s blood, breath and urine.

According to Wee, aside from the police, Road Transport Department (RTD) enforcement officers too will be given powers to make arrests.

Earlier this year, former Transport Minister Anthony Loke (DAP – Seremban) said the ministry was looking into following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standard for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Malaysia.

On this, Wee said the changes on BAC will be included in Act 333. Malaysia’s current threshold of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml blood will be reduced to 50mg, he said.

“Another thing is that in this law, we will make imprisonment as a mandatory punishment. Previously the law stated that you can either be fined or jailed but this time, we will ensure you will be fined and jailed.

“In addition, action will be taken against those who run away from breathalyser tests or quickly park by the side of the road when they see police roadblocks,” he said.

Wee said the reason for tougher punishment was made after considering the views of 323,000 respondents on the issue.

He said 94 percent of the total respondents wanted harsher punishment, adding that the voices were too big to be ignored.

“We see drink-driving, driving under the influence of drugs and reckless driving as something that is extremely serious and so we want this to be done immediately because we have other things to do as well.

“We still need to educate the children on the danger and also adults on how to handle friends who insist on driving when they are already drunk.

“Other countries have done this and it is time Malaysia does the same. You can drink but don’t put others in danger,” he said.

In another follow-up question, Mohd Hatta Ramli (Amanah-Lumut) asked if the government will consider PAS’ proposal to ban alcohol as a solution to drink-driving problems.

Wee replied: “I’ve had a dialogue with PAS Youth and NGOs, including from five religions, and there have been many different views. We live in a diverse society and we take everyone’s views.”

“The Transport Ministry’s position is that we follow the principles of law and the Federal Constitution.

“I’m a non-Muslim, I don’t drink, it’s not a problem but I also do not violate the rights of others,” he said.

Wee added that there is a need to differentiate between consuming alcohol and driving while drunk.