Guan Eng: Transport minister yet to explain double standards in penalties for ‘mat rempit’

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong has yet to explain why drink-driving offenders face harsher penalties than ‘mat rempit’ (illegal street racers), said DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng.

“I had asked Wee to explain why heavier penalties imposed for drunk drivers causing death are double that of jail sentences imposed on mat rempit,” Lim said.

Instead of an explanation, Lim said that the transport minister indulged in a “false narrative” that Lim was not aware of the amendments made in 2020 to Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) in order to apparently distract attention from Wee’s “abysmal failure to impose harsh punishment on drunk driving as on illegal racing by mat rempit.”

The amendment under Section 41 of Act 333 states that penalties for death caused by reckless and dangerous driving has been increased from the initial two-year jail time and RM5,000 fine to a five-year jail time and RM20,000 fine for the first offence.

The Opposition lawmaker wrote that under Section 44 of Act 333, the penalties for death caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs carry a fine of between RM50,000 to RM100,000 and a minimum of 10 to 15 years in jail for the first offence, while the subsequent offence carries a 15- to 20-year jail sentence and a maximum fine of RM150,000.

Section 44(1A), the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing injury but not death have been increased to RM50,000 and a minimum of seven to 10 years in jail for the first offence. The subsequent offence carries a RM50,000 to RM100,000 fine and a 10 to 15 years’ jail time.

Meanwhile, Section 45A states that those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol face a maximum fine of RM30,000 and or a maximum two-year jail time.

“There is no similar provision imposing such harsh penalties for those involved in illegal racing by mat rempit compared to that imposed on drunk driving.

“Wee should not miss the wood from the trees by insisting that harsher penalties are imposed on mat rempit when it is still nothing compared to those imposed on drunk driving,” Lim said.

The former finance minister also criticised Wee’s lack of comment on the July 17 multi-vehicle accident involving mat rempit on Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Highway in George Town that claimed five lives and injured two.

“Wee should stop his political posturing but show political will to solve this ‘rempit menace’ which is seen by some as a cancer in society.

“Wee focuses more on drunk driving despite the World Health Organisation and a global road safety report from December 2018 showing that less than 1 per cent of traffic-related deaths in Malaysia are linked to alcohol, one of the lowest rates of road fatalities in the world,” Lim said, adding that Wee should listen to the public who want a harsher penalty for mat rempit.

According to Lim, deaths by driving under the influence (DUI) contributed least to the total number of road fatalities — 2.89 per cent (2014), 3.41 per cent (2015), 3.31 per cent (2016), 0.86 per cent (2017), and 0.85 per cent (2018) — while only 69 cases of fatal crashes between 2011 and July 2021 were attributed to DUIs.

“Based on data, the rempit menace is as potent a threat, if not more, as drunk driving. With more deaths caused by mat rempit than drunk driving, Wee should be data-driven by showing both political will and political guts to punish and resolve the rempit menace to save Malaysian lives and livelihood,” Lim said.

On July 24, Lim said that Wee as a transport minister lacked the “political will” to address the issue of mat rempit and illegal racing compared to drunk drivers.

On the other hand, Wee reportedly said that the Transport Ministry has been conducting a study to identify a long-term plan in solving accidents involving motorcyclists but has not given any further details.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting