PUTRAJAYA: The Transport Ministry has finalised all proposed amendments to introduce stiffer penalties for those caught driving under the influence (DUI), says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
In an interview to mark his impending 100 days in office on Thursday, the Transport Minister said the matter was expedited in less than 40 days after he heard of a drink-driving incident while on his first official visit to the Bukit Bintang MRT station on May 4.
“Upon receiving the news, I directed the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to expedite the revision of Sections 41 to 45 of the Road Transport Act 1987 (also known as Act 333).
“Since then, the nation has seen several incidents related to drink-driving within the month, ” said Dr Wee, adding that the proposed amendments were finalised at the ministry level on June 1.
“Other than DUI, amendments were also proposed to cover penalties for reckless driving, and these have been sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers, ” Wee said.
The ministry’s drive for safer roads is also backed by an online survey.
“We have done a rather comprehensive survey on drink-driving recently involving 345,021 respondents.
“The survey found that 11% said they have had experience with drink-driving, whether as a witness (or being involved personally).
“Three per cent of the respondents claimed they did not know it (drink-driving) was an offence, while 65% did not know about blood alcohol content (BAC) limits under Act 333.
“Overall, 94% agreed to increased penalties for DUI in terms of fines, jail terms and suspension or revocation of the right to drive, ” said Dr Wee, who affirmed his commitment to battle DUI on Malaysian roads.
“We are serious in combating this menace. We are not trampling on the rights of anyone to drink, but please don’t drive after that.
“I will make it my main agenda. I have met with various stakeholders like JPJ and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research to come up with a comprehensive plan that is beyond mere (heightened) enforcement.
“Education is not just Transport Ministry’s or the minister’s responsibility alone, all have to play their part, ” said Dr Wee, who was tight-lipped on the proposed new BAC limits.
Promising to give more details once further approvals were obtained, he also declined to reveal whether Malaysia would adopt the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation on BAC limits.
Malaysia currently uses 0.08% as the limit, while WHO recommends 0.05% (or 0.05g of alcohol for every 100ml of blood).