“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,”
Those found guilty of driving under the influence and reckless driving may be looking at heavier punishments including 20 years’ jail and fines of RM150,000.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said this will happen if the proposed amendments to Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) are agreed in the cabinet and passed in the Dewan Rakyat soon.
Wee revealed the gist of the proposed amendments to the Dewan Rakyat today when asked by Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Umno – Arau) on the type of penalties that Malaysians can expect from Act 333 before the former tables it in the House.
Wee said the proposed amendments include first-time offenders facing similar heavy penalties of 15 years in jail and RM100,000 fine.
Currently, the penalties for first-time offenders are 10 years imprisonment and a RM20,000 fine.
“We are also looking at increasing the period of license 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 clamping down on drink driving. This year alone, there are already 12 deaths involving drink driving.
“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.
The proposed 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.
Wee said 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 the BAC will be included in Act 333.
Malaysia’s current level stands at 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.
Wee said these could be lowered to 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 67 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.
“Another thing is that in this (proposed amendments), we will make imprisonment a mandatory punishment.
“Previously, the law stated that you can either be fined or jailed but this time, we will change the wording to ‘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.
The Ayer Hitam Member of Parliament said the tougher punishments were taken into consideration after polling some 323,000 respondents on the issue.
He said 94 per cent of the total respondents wanted harsher punishment, adding that the voices were “too loud 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 dangers 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.
Source : NST