PETALING JAYA: While groups are lauding the proposed amendments for harsher penalties for causing death in drink-driving cases, many say more can still be done. Amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 should include an effective compensation system for the family of a victim, says a lawmaker.
Ledang MP Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said the government should consider the rights and welfare of victims and their families due to losses suffered after an accident.
“This should be given some attention,” Syed Ibrahim said in a statement.
He cited a case in Kuantan in May, in which 41-year-old waste management worker Irwan Herwan Kamaruddin was killed after being hit by fish wholesaler Teoh Kian Peng, 42, who was driving against traffic.
Teoh, alleged to have been drunk at the time, was charged with murder on June 1.
“The victim died leaving two young children and a wife who will now have to be the family’s breadwinner,” he said.
From 2018 to the first half of this year, there were 29 deaths and 41 injuries due to road accidents involving drunk drivers.
And up to May this year alone, there were 22 such accidents, which resulted in nine deaths and 13 injuries.
Syed Ibrahim urged the government to study his proposal and come up with a quantum that would help protect the future of the victim’s family.
“The loss of income, trauma and the future of their children must be considered,” he said, adding that the procedure should not burden the victims’ kin.
National Road Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye agreed, saying there should also be a system where victims or their families were compensated in the event of death or permanent injury after a drink-driving accident.“The victims’ families should be entitled to medical assistance and those who are found guilty must be held responsible and take care of those they have injured,” he said.
He also felt that everyone needed to look out for each other, including insisting that a person who has had a few drinks not drive at all.“We need to instil a safety culture and the person who has indulged should also know not to be on the road. Not only is it against the law, but the person is also a danger to himself and other road users,” said Lee.
He said drinking establishments could also help by insisting that patrons do not drive home inebriated and by offering to call them a cab.
“This is a question of being responsible, which would help discourage drink driving in the long run,” he said.
He welcomed the proposed amendments to Sections 41 to 45 of the Road Transport Act 1987 as drink driving was a long-standing issue.“The public has been looking forward to the amendments as recent drink-driving accidents have called for more drastic punishment. “It is good to review the law and introduce stiffer penalties to make it a deterrent, otherwise they would be repeated,” he said.
Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & Snatch Theft (Marah) founder Dave Avran concurred, saying customers and drinking establishments should act more responsibly to deter drink driving.
“Every outlet serving alcohol has a moral duty to ensure that patrons who have consumed alcohol are not allowed to drive home and are obliged to designate a sober driver or book a ride for them,” said Dave.
However, he is against closing down entertainment outlets as it would only encourage underground operations and create a black market for alcohol consumption.
He also called for more extreme measures such as naming and shaming drunk drivers to send out a clear message that this was a serious offence.