PETALING JAYA: Two amendments to the Road Transport Act, introduced by the Transport Ministry in 2020, have increased penalties for illegal racing involving mat rempit and motorcycles, as well as reckless driving, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
He said DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng was clueless about the amendments made to the Act in 2020 when he (Lim) issued a statement on Sunday claiming that no action was taken to address the mat rempit culture.
“It shows that Lim wasn’t serious and he did not look at the amendments that were passed and gazetted,” he said in a statement yesterday in response to Lim’s allegations.
Dr Wee pointed out that Section 41, which covers deaths caused by reckless driving, increases the initial minimum two-year jail sentence to five years, a ban on driving for five years and from a fine of RM5,000 to RM20,000, for the first offence.
Subsequent offences under Section 41 increase penalties from a minimum two-year prison sentence to 10 years, and a 10-year ban on driving as well as a fine of RM5,000 to RM50,000.
Dr Wee said amendments to Section 42, which covers reckless and dangerous driving, also increased the ban on driving from two years to five years.
Lim, in his statement, had urged the authorities to take sterner action against the mat rempit culture and illegal motorcycle racing.
Lim had, among others, claimed there were more fatal accidents involving mat rempit than drink driving, adding that the authorities seemed to be focused on accidents involving driving under the influence (DUI).
Lim had said the same punishment for DUI should be imposed on mat rempit and others involved in illegal racing.
The statement by the DAP national chairman came following a recent accident along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway in Penang, a multiple-vehicle accident that saw at least five dead and several injured.
In an immediate response, Dr Wee said it was unfortunate that Lim had continued attacking the ministry for having no political will in addressing the Mat Rempit menace and reckless driving.
“Throughout Pakatan Harapan’s 22 months in Putrajaya, weren’t there any fatal road accident cases involving motorcyclists?” he said.
“Why didn’t Pakatan have the will to immediately address this issue?”
According to Dr Wee, the amendments that he mentioned were pushed through in 2020, the moment he was appointed as Transport Minister.
“I quickly amended the Act to increase penalties for offenders to ensure our roads are safer.
“It’s not just about drunk drivers, but also those who are driving under the influence of drugs, dangerously and recklessly,” he said.
He said the ministry and its agencies had beefed up awareness programmes to educate the public on driving safely, adding that joint operations to curb dangerous driving, including illegal racing, were always in place.
On another matter, Dr Wee said a special team was formed by the ministry to focus on accidents involving motorcyclists and there is an ongoing study to identify a long-term plan to address the matter.
Among the other aspects that will be looked at are rules, vehicle technical components and advocacy activities that are more effective.
“The details will be announced soon.
“The ministry has always made efforts to ensure stern action and appropriate punishment can be taken against anyone driving recklessly, including motorcyclists, based on present provisions under the law,” said Dr Wee.