Transport minister tables amendment for harsher drink-driving punishment, ‘basikal lajak’ offences

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong speaks to reporters during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur July 27, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong speaks to reporters during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur July 27, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — The Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 to address reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was tabled for the first reading in Parliament today.

The Bill to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) will include among others mandatory imprisonment and reduce the allowable blood alcohol limit was tabled by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.

“One of the crucial amendments made include mandatory imprisonment for offences related to driving under the influence and reducing alcohol prescribed limit for those driving while under the influence,” he said in a media briefing held to explain the Bill in detail.

He also noted that the amendment also included specific punishments for basikal lajak (modified bicycles) offences.

Wee said amendments were made to 13 sections of the 1987 Act, including Sections 2, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 45(A) 45(B), 45(C), 45(G), 54, 88, and 112.

“The amendments made to Section 41 to 45 will address offences in relation to driving under the influence, doesn’t matter whether it involves alcohol, drugs or reckless driving.  

“Amendments will also include basikal lajak because this too caused accidents,” he said, referring to modified bicycles.

Death by reckless driving

Under Section 41, the amendments will see stiffer fines and longer jail time for drivers convicted of causing death with their recklessness.

The minimum fine for first-time offenders will be raised from RM5,000 to RM20,000 with the limit raised from RM20,000 to RM50,000. Similarly, first time offenders will face a minimum five years in jail compared to two years currently. The maximum jail time remains 10 years.

For subsequent convictions, offenders will be fined between a minimum of RM20,000 up to RM100,000 compared to the current fine amount of RM5,000-RM50,000. Jail time for subsequent offenders will also be increased to nothing less than 10 years and not more than 15 years.  

Under this section too, the offender will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for not more than five years for the first time. Subsequent offenders will see the limit doubled to 10 years.

For Section 44, which deals with causing death while driving under the influence, an individual will be punishable with imprisonment of not less than 10 years but not more than 15 years, and a fine of not less than RM50,000 but not more than RM100,000.

In the case of a subsequent conviction, jail time is raised to nothing less than 15 years but not more than 20 years, and a fine of not less than RM100,000 but not more than RM150,000.

A person convicted Section 44 for the first time shall be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of not less than 10 years from the date of the conviction. In the case of a subsequent conviction, he or she will be disqualified for a period of 20 years from the date of the conviction.

Drink driving offences

To address concerns over drink driving and drug consumption, amendments made to Section 45 include fines up to RM5,000 for first conviction and second or subsequent conviction up to RM10,000.

An offender who is convicted under Section 45 will also face jail time of up to two years for the first conviction and not more than five years for subsequent conviction.

The Bill also amends Sections 45B and 45C of the 1987 Act to increase the punishments and disqualification period for offences relating to failure to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for offences committed under section 44, 45, or 45A.  

“For those who do not cooperate with the police when asked to provide test specimens (alcohol or drugs) too are bound to face jail time (not less than two years for first conviction and second conviction not less than five years),” said Wee.  

Section 45G of the 1987 Act has also been amended to lower the prescribed limit of alcohol content allowed in an individual.

“The new prescribed limit is (a) 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 ml of breath (previously 35 microgrammes);  

(b) 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood (previously 80mg); and (c) 67mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine (previously 107mg,” said Wee.

Micromobility vehicles

Another area which the existing Act did not cover, are micromobility vehicles.

This has been included under Sections 54, 88 and 112 of the amendment Bill.

The Bill explained that micromobility vehicles are any vehicle that is propelled by electrical means and internal-combustion engine or human power or a combination of electrical means an internal-combustion engine of human power, and having a maximum speed of 50km/h.  

“The term micromobility includes vehicles such as bicycles, electric bicycles and tricycles. Previously, the Act did not address vehicles as such.

“This will also address basikal lajak offences where the fine has been increased to RM1,000 with mandatory jail sentence.

“For child who is under aged, their parents or guardian will be punished,” Wee said.

The Bill will be debated and read for the second time during the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.

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