Our Half-Past-Six Lawmakers

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The unparliamentary behaviours of our lawmakers in the august house made circuses looked tame by comparison.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

When answering a question raised in Parliament, Transport Minister Dr Wee Ka Siong revealed to lawmakers the gist of the proposed amendments to Section 41 to Section 45 of the Road Transport Act, which will allow harsher penalties against those found to be driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

He said, “Under Section 44, currently the maximum jail time is for 10 years. The amendment will see first time offenders facing 15 years imprisonment for the first offence and 20 years for the subsequent offence.”

He added, “Currently, the maximum fine for those found guilty is RM20,000 but we will increase this to RM100,000 for the first offence and RM150,000 for the following offence. We will also suspend their driver’s license for 20 years from 10 years.”

While more effective enforcement and harsher penalties are needed to deter motorcyclists from riding and motorists from driving under influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, attention must also be given to injured victims or families of the deceased.

This is because motor insurance does not cover for DUI and suing the driver or motorcyclist would be fruitless as court compensations are usually awarded several years later. By then, motorists or motorcyclists may no longer have the means to pay, either through loss of income if imprisoned or their assets have long been disposed.

Last month, I proposed that drivers that caused death or grievous injury are to be slapped with RM100,000 fine, from which RM80,000 be paid to the victim or family as compensation to alleviate their suffering.

Our lawmakers ought to look into this and be more caring. Instead, many raised questions and issued statements to politicise the issue hoping to score brownie points by calling for drastic actions, including death penalty, for those who drink and drive.

They reminded me of half-past-six, an adjective that I learned from my teacher in primary school to denote someone as bad, shoddy or slipshod. When the clock is at half-past six, both hands point downwards, much like thumbs down signifying disapproval.

And the unparliamentary behaviours of our lawmakers in the august house on Tuesday made circuses looked tame by comparison. They are lawmakers by default but are after popularity, power and prosperity by design, all at poor rakyat’s expense.

The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader CY Ming of Ampang.