KUALA LUMPUR: Drunk drivers will be looking at longer mandatory jail time and higher fines if proposed amendments to the law is given the nod when tabled in Dewan Rakyat soon.
Among the proposed amendments include increasing prison sentences for those causing death or injury due to drink driving, from 10 to 15 years and increasing fines up to RM100,000.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) revealed the gist of the proposed amendments to lawmakers when answering a question on the issue which was raised in Parliament on Wednesday (July 15).
"For example, under Section 44, the maximum sentence for those found to have exceeded the permissible alcohol limit and causing death or injury is 10 years.
"Under the new amendment, the 10-year jail sentence will be increased to 15 years for first time offenders and 20 years for subsequent conviction," he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (PN-Arau).
He also said the proposal includes increasing the current maximum fine of RM20,000 up to RM100,000.
He said those convicted will get their driving licence suspended for 20 years instead of the current 10 years suspension.
He said the proposed amendments also seeks to impose mandatory jail time under Section 45A for those convicted while driving above the permissible alcohol levels.
Dr Wee added the amendments will see the lowering of permissible alcohol levels detected in drivers through breathalyser, urine and blood tests in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
The current levels adopted by the country 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.
This will be lowered to at 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.
Dr Wee said the stiffer penalties under the proposed amendments will also cover those driving under the influence of drugs and reckless driving.
Beside police having the power to take action against drink driving, he said the Road Transport Department would also be empowered to carry out enforcement.
Dr Wee said the final details of the proposed amendments, covering Section 41 to Section 45, will be made known later.
"The Attorney-General's Chambers has completed the draft for the proposed amendments which will be brought to the Cabinet this July 17.
"Once approved by Cabinet, the proposed amendments will be tabled during Dewan Rakyat's current meeting," he said.
On calls for the death sentence on drunk drivers causing fatal road crashes, Dr Wee said that this could only be done under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.
Although many are angry at drunk drivers responsible for fatal accidents, he said the government will not act hastily and will be guided by the principles of law.
He noted that the prosecution needed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a driver had the intention to kill if charged with murder.
“We don’t want them to get off scot-free due to the failure to prove intention.
"We have to go by the principles of law and that is why there will be stiffer penalties, ” he said.
Dr Wee stressed that it was time to act against drink driving as 12 cases were recorded this year.
"I am not against drinking but against those who drink and drive," he said.
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