KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — The Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020, which among others, seeks to amend the penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was passed with majority support in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong when winding up the debate on the bill, said the prison sentence, which was increased to a minimum of five years for those who drive recklessly, to the extent of causing death, was appropriate and it would be considered by the court.
He added that the bill was tabled to protect road users, not oppress and burden any individuals.
“If a person drives recklessly, the first thing to take into account is the road condition and so forth, next all the investigation files will be sent to the deputy public prosecutor to ensure the pre-requisites are met as stated in the law,” he said.
“I am confident the Attorney General’s Chambers have experts who will assess every situation and if it is justified, then only will the person be charged in court. So it is not intended to make things difficult for anyone,” he added
The Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 was debated by 19 MPs.
Earlier, several MPs from the opposition bloc claimed that the bill was oppressive as the poor would not be able to afford to pay the fine and legal fees, forcing them to be jailed for a minimum of five years which was considered heavy.
Among those who raised the issue were Hassan Abdul Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang) and R. Sivarasa (PH-Sungai Buloh) who urged that the minimum prison sentence of two years be maintained and to leave it to the court to consider the matter.
Earlier when tabling the bill for the second reading, Wee said the amendment which involved 15 key clauses and touched on 13 sections of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) would complement the ministry’s overall strategy in improving the safety of road users nationwide.
Wee said among the amendments was Section 44 involving offences committed by reckless drivers resulting in the death of others, adding that the punishment for offences under the Section would be divided into two categories, namely cases resulting in injuries and those causing death.
For causing death, the penalty to be imposed, if convicted, is imprisonment for a period of between 10 to 15 years and a minimum fine of RM50,000 and a maximum of RM100,000. In addition, the offender’s driving licence would be suspended for a period of 10 years, for the first conviction. — Bernama