In the last 7 days, Malaysians were shocked by a spike of deaths caused by drunk driving. These fatal incidents have sparked confusion and outrage among netizens and government officials alike. So much so that the latter is now trying to implement harsher sentences for drunk drivers. Here’s a recap of the tragic incidents that made headlines these last 7 days:
Mohamed Zaili Mohamed, 44, Food Delivery Rider
In the early hours of June 1, a Foodpanda rider tragically lost his life after a Nissan Grand Livina suddenly slammed into his motorbike and killed him on site. The driver responsible for the man’s death was heavily intoxicated on alcohol when the accident happened.
Bernama reports that the victim, 44-year-old Mohamed Zaili Mohamed, had just sent off some food prepared by his wife before he making his way back home. Unfortunately, he never made it back because of one man’s irresponsible actions.
Moreover, the intoxicated driver did not pull over upon impact and continued driving for another 2km before other cars on the road managed to stop him. As he drove, the victim’s motorbike was stuck under the bumper of his car and dragged across the entirety of that 2km.
While the man responsible for Zaili’s death has been apprehended and is currently undergoing trial (where he pleaded not guilty to the offence), Zaili’s wife is now a widow and their children have been made fatherless.
Sadly, this was just one of many other fatal incidents that took place over the past week.
Irwan Herman Kamarudin, 42, Alam Flora Worker
Irwan Herman Kamarudin, a 42-year old Alam Flora worker in Kuantan was another victim who lost his life to a drunk driver when his car collided with another that was driving on the wrong side of the road and eventually crashed at full speed into Irwan’s car. While the drunk driver survived the crash and received minor injuries, Irwan unluckily did not.
Courier & Friend
Yet another motorcyclist was caught in a fatal collision after a drunk student crashed into his bike. Miraculously, the man driving the bike survived the impact (but is currently in critical condition at PPUM) whereas his friend who hitched a ride with him tragically died after the accident. The victim was a courier who hitched a ride with his friend to head back home, similar to Mohamed Zaili Mohamed.
These are but a few of several incidents which made headlines the past week. The sheer number of cases has prompted Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to order the Ministry of Transport to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333). The prime minister is hoping to impose heavier penalties on individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
With the possible law amendments, the Malaysian government is aiming to increase the sentence for drunk-driving related injuries and death to 20 years with a RM100,000 fine. The proposal was made sometime in February and is now pending government approval to be put into action.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limit to be Revised
The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for individuals under the influence of alcohol should also be revised and reduced to 0.05 in accordance with international standards as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Hopefully, with a revised BAC limit – should the new amendments pass, more tragedies can be prevented in the future.
Malaysia – 3rd Highest Road Fatality Rate in Asia
UNESCAP reported that in 2019, Malaysia had the third highest fatality rate from road traffic accidents in Asia and ASEAN, behind Thailand and Vietnam. While cases have increased since last year, there has been a drop in total yearly cases from 2017-2018 as compared to 2012-2016, with only 181 cases in 2018 as opposed to 461 cases in 2016. The downward trend is good news but many Malaysians feel that the number of cases is still high and the punishment is not heavy enough.
First time offenders can receive a fine not exceeding RM1,000 and/or jail time of no more than three months. Repeat offenders can be fined for no less than RM2,000 – 6,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months. In addition, the driver can have their license revoked 5 years or more (1st time offence) and 10 years (2nd time).
The highest penalty is for those who cause an accident which results in injury or death, where they can be fined RM8,000 – 20,000 and be jailed 3 – 10 years.
It’s important to understand the severity of drunk driving as the possibility of causing an accident is 13 times higher than any individuals who are not under the influence of alcohol.
While many might try to make this issue related to race and religion, the reality of it is that drunk driving can and has been caused by people of all colours and creeds. It should not be weaponised into a racial or religious issue as other countries (both in the east and west) give out harsher penalties for drunk driving.
- In Canada, drunk driving is a criminal offence and if causing death, it is punishable by life imprisonment, and if causing injury, the offenders can face imprisonment of up to 14 years.
- In the United Kingdom, drunk drivers who cause death will be sentenced to 14 years in prison with unlimited fine and their driving licence suspended for two years.
- In Taiwan, the government had approved a draft amendment to the penal code which categorised driving under the influence of alcohol and causing death as a murder offence. If the offender intends to cause death, he or she may be sentenced to death.
If you are planning on drinking make sure you have someone to take you home and for the love of God please do not get behind the wheel. To the families of these victims and also victims of past drunk driving accidents, our deepest condolences are with you.
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