KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — Federal Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng today accused Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong of failing to take stern action against “mat rempit” motorcyclists racing illegally on public roads to quell the menace.
According to the Bagan MP, the number of road deaths caused by rempit is much higher than of those caused by drunk drivers.
“Clearly rempit are a menace to public safety and have endangered both the lives and livelihood of innocent motorists,” he said in a statement.
Lim said there were five road deaths and two injuries in Penang recently that were caused by rempit racers.
He also noted that a former board member of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research Shahrim Tamrin had highlighted police data showing 12,000 road fatalities caused by rempit since 2009.
“Normally, such large number of deaths would require immediate action by any responsible and competent transport minister,” he said.
He criticised Wee as unfit to be a transport minister if the latter cannot see that the huge disparity between fatal accidents by rempit racing on highways and deaths caused by drunk driving.
“Unfortunately, Wee does not appear to have the same political will to overcome the dangerous mat rempit compared to dealing with drunk driving,” Lim said.
The former finance minister suggested that similar punishments for drink driving be imposed against rempit who cause road deaths.
The former finance minister suggested that similar punishments for drink driving be imposed against rempit who cause road deaths. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
“Is Wee’s forceful action against drunk driving due to the dictation of his political masters but inaction against rempit is not wanted by his political masters but by the ordinary rakyat?” Lim asked.
He pointed out that only 69 cases of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on Malaysian roads were attributed to fatal crashes between 2011 and July 2021.
He added that figures from the World Health Organisation and a global road safety report from December 2018 showed under 1 per cent of road deaths in Malaysia were related to alcohol.
Lim pointed out that Wee had trumpeted the increased penalties of death caused by reckless or dangerous driving under Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987 to a fine of RM50,000 and/or a five to 10-year jail sentence.
Section 44 of the Road Transport Act imposed harsher penalties for causing death by those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a fine of between RM50,000 to RM100,000 and a minimum of 10 years /or a maximum of 15 years in jail for the first offence.
The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent of causing injury without death have been increased to RM50,000 and/or a seven to 10 year jail term.
Those driving while intoxicated or on drugs face a minimum fine of RM1,000 (all the way up to RM5,000) and/or a jail term below two years.
Parliament passed the Road Transport Amendment Bill on August 26, 2020 allowing heavier punishments against intoxicated drivers, including longer jail time, higher fines and suspension of their driving licences.