PUTRAJAYA: The Government will come down hard on participants and organisers of illegal racing with amendments to existing laws and greater enforcement.
It is also considering laws to penalise spectators of such events.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the Cabinet had agreed to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 to make it easier to arrest those involved in illegal racing and subject them to higher penalties.
He said Section 81 of the Act which was too lenient would be reviewed.
The section provides for a first offender in an illegal race to be fined up to RM2,000 or jailed up to six months jail or both. His licence can also be suspended for up to one year.
Promoters, advertisers and organisers of any illegal street racing face similar fines and jail terms.
“It is very obvious that such penalties are not effective in deterring people from carrying out such activities,” Chan said after the weekly Cabinet meeting here yesterday. To a question, he said officers from his ministry were working out the new penalties.
“We are also considering making the act of watching such illegal racing an offence,” he said, adding that this could be similar to the laws against gambling where even spectators could be charged.
Chan also said such offences could be made “registerable” offences under the Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969.
It is understood that this will allow previous convictions to be admitted in court as evidence.
In terms of enforcement, Chan said the various enforcement agencies such as the Road Transport Department (JPJ), police and local governments would immediately step up operations to nab illegal racers.
“I can't give you any details on how we will be carrying out enforcement but it will be in an integrated manner. We will be working very closely and going all out in a big way to enforce this nationwide,” he said.
On the case of 11 cars torched at the Sungai Petani JPJ office, the ministry was waiting for a report from the police.
“On our side, we will also be conducting investigations on who may be responsible,” he said, adding that heightened security measures had been taken for impounded vehicles when an earlier incident occurred early last year.
With the latest incident, he said JPJ had asked all of its offices to beef up security further.