PETALING JAYA: Amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333), which deals with drink driving, will be finalised in mid-June before being tabled at the next Parliament meeting, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The Prime Minister said he had directed the Transport Ministry to draft amendments to the Act to provide stiffer punishments for offenders found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"The number of road accident cases involving drunk drivers is more worrying lately.
"As the leader of the government and also a father, I understand the concerns of the people and families of accident victims who want the government to act firmly in handling the issue," said Muhyiddin in a statement on Saturday (May 30).
The amendments will spell out heavier and more appropriate mandatory punishment on intoxicated drivers who cause injuries or death to other road users, said Muhyiddin.
Police statistics showed that there were 21 accidents involving drunk drivers in the first five months of this year, resulting in eight deaths, he said.
Muhyiddin said this was worrying as the number of drink driving accidents so far this year was close to the total of 23 cases recorded in 2019.
Currently, Section 45A (1) of the Act provides for a fine of not less than RM1,000 and not more than RM6,000 or imprisonment of maximum 12 months.
Meanwhile, drunk drivers who cause deaths can be punished under Section 44 of the Act, which provides for a maximum fine of RM20,000 and maximum 10 years' imprisonment.
Muhyiddin said he hoped that amendments to the Act would give justice to families of victims who have had their lives affected by drunk drivers.
In a related development, police in Petaling Jaya would triple the number of roadblocks to check drink driving.
Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal said the police had initially set up two roadblocks when the operation started on May 27.
"We will continue with the roadblocks up to a certain time or until we see a decline in drink driving," he said, adding that police have arrested 11 people so far for drink driving during the movement control order (MCO) period.
While many of those cases involved damaged vehicles, ACP Nik Ezanee said an accident involving a drunk driver on the Federal Highway on Friday morning had claimed one life and seriously injured another person.
Seven more people were pulled over for drink driving during the operations from 11pm on Friday, he added.
The seven were brought to the police station and investigated for driving while intoxicated.