PUTRAJAYA: Heavier penalties are in store for those caught drunk or high on drugs while driving, according to Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.
He said the Cabinet had agreed in principle, to amend the Road Transport Act 1987, to mete out heavier penalties to those caught breaking the law, adding that it is very likely that the amendments will be tabled in Parliament either in June or July this year.
“The government takes all incidents involving drug abuse and drunk driving that can cause serious injury or death, very seriously,“ Loke told the media after attending his ministry’s post Cabinet meeting.
The ministry will be holding discussions with the Attorney General’s Chambers, police and all relevant stakeholders, to discuss the amendments.
He cited two Sections in the Act that will be amended - Section 44 and Section 45g.
Section 44 addresses driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs and its prescribed penalty, while Section 45g refers to breath, blood or urine tests.
Loke highlighted international regulations set by the World Health Organisation on alcohol limits at 0.05mg while in Malaysia the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is set at > 0.08mg per 100 militeres.
The Road Safety Department has urged the government to start a campaign to discourage drinking (alcohol) and driving, like it previously did in a “don’t drink and drive campaign”.
However, Loke said the government will take all views into consideration before making a decision but plans to amend Section 41 of the Act in regards to reckless or dangerous driving will be tabled.
“We are focusing on the sentencing of the dangerous driver, as the punishment should suit the crime,” he said.