Stricter penalties for drunk driving: “Driving not a privilege, can be revoked,” MP says

BUKIT Bendera MP Syerleena Abdul Rashid has called for stronger measures against drunk driving, saying those found guilty of the offence should face stricter punishments such as having their driver’s licences suspended for decades or the creation of blacklists to prevent those convicted of manslaughter from regaining vehicle ownership.

In a statement on Thursday (Jan 18), she said there is an “undeniable urgency” in Malaysia for the implementation of more rigorous measures against drink driving.

“As Malaysians, we must underscore the paramount importance of our citizens’ lives, and it is essential for all who sit behind the wheel to remember this: driving is not an inherent right, but a privilege earned through responsibility and respect for others,” she remarked.

“This privilege can be revoked when recklessness and arrogance cloud one’s judgment.”

At present, those caught driving under the influence of alcohol can face charges under Section 44(1)(b) of the Road Transport Act 1987, which carries a prison sentence ranging from 10 to 15 years and a fine of up to RM100,000 upon conviction.

They can also face charges under Section 42 of the same Act, which allows for a maximum jail term of five years, a fine of up to RM15,000, and a two-year disqualification from driving.

The DAP MP further proposed that those convicted be subject to mandatory pre-requisites, including the formation of foundations aimed at helping those impacted by drunk driving.

The installation of mandatory alcohol interlock devices in vehicles belonging to those convicted could also deter such behaviour, she added.

Syerleena cited the recent case of Teoh Joo Leong, who yesterday pleaded not guilty at the Butterworth Magistrates’ Court in Penang.

She said the service engineer’s factors for a minimum bail amount – being a widower with three children and ageing parents to take care of – should have been considered before he decided to drive under the influence.

She also brought up the deaths of teachers Fakhrul Rodzi Fauzi and Ahsan Ayub, who were respectively aged 31 and 32 at the time of their deaths in December.

“The consequences of drunk driving transcend the moment of impact, casting a profound and enduring shadow on the lives of those affected, in this case, the families of the deceased,” Syerleena pointed out.

“The anguish endured by the families of those innocently lost in such accidents is beyond measure, leaving a permanent void and emotional scars that may never fully mend.”

Teoh, 47, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him before Magistrate Siti Zulaikha Nordin @ Ghani.

Teoh is alleged to have driven under the influence of alcohol, and caused the death of two teachers Muhammad Fakhrul Rodzi Fauzi, 31, and Muhammed Ahsan Mohamed Ayub, 32.

The incident occurred at Jalan Permatang Baru Nawar in the Seberang Prai Utara district at 2.30am on Dec 16, last year. – Jan 18, 2024


Main pic credit: Parlimen Malaysia

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