The government will introduce heavier penalties for offences related to reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to transport minister Anthony Loke, the road transport act is set to be reviewed and amended to increase the existing penalties for such offences, The Star reports.

He said that the matter received serious attention in today’s cabinet meeting, and the amendments could be tabled in parliament as early as the second sitting in June or July this year.

“The cabinet agreed in principle for the transport minister to review and amend the existing provisions and tighten laws concerning driving under the influence and reckless driving. We will be having discussions with stakeholders including the police and the attorney-general’s chambers to seek their views on enforcement and laws,” he said.

Loke said that provisions that will be reviewed include the prescribed limit of alcohol content, with current law permitting up to 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. “However, the international limit set by the WHO (World Health Organisation) is 50 mg in 100 ml of blood, so we feel this needs to be reviewed,” he said.

At present, those found driving in an intoxicated state beyond the permissible level can be jailed up to ten years and fined up to RM20,000.

He added that Section 41 of the road transport act, which concerns reckless and dangerous driving resulting in fatal accidents, will also be reviewed. Presently, those found guilty for reckless driving and causing death as a result of that can be jailed up to 10 years and fined a maximum of RM20,000, and also banned from driving for at least three years.

“We need to re-look at existing provisions and ensure those who are found guilty of reckless driving will receive more appropriate punishment,” he said. In July 2018, Loke had said that the ministry was planning a review of the existing provisions, but to date, no changes have been made to current laws.