The government is contemplating this move after five family members burned to death last Saturday in a two-vehicle collision between a car and a semi-truck on the North-South Expressway, the longest controlled-access expressway in Malaysia. The truck driver in the collision, who lost control of his trailer, had 13 traffic summonses on his legal record. He was detained following the deadly collision.
Section 41 of Malaysia's Road Transport Act 1987 states that a driver who is convicted of causing death due to reckless driving faces a three-year driving ban if it's their first offense and 10 years if it's their second. The act also penalizes vehicle drivers who cause death with jail time between two and 10 years.
"This means that after three years, it is possible for these drivers to drive again. I feel this punishment is not strict enough," Transport Minister Anthony Loke said during a Monday news conference, Channel News Asia reported Tuesday.
"This should be reviewed, including by introducing a lifelong driving ban," he said, adding that even the current maximum jail time of 10 years is too lenient. "The government views seriously accidents involving deaths and want all parties to give it serious attention," he noted.
"If you cause the death of other people on the road, you should be banned from driving for the rest of your life."
According to Loke, the Ministry of Transportation plans to carry out additional discussions with stakeholders like NGOs and road safety bodies to evaluate the potential impact of any amendment to the Act.
"While this review is important, it is expected to take a long time because it involves amendments to the Act," Loke noted.
"So for the time being, this is pretty much in its infant stages, and requires further development before we will consider bringing the amendment to Parliament for tabling," Loke added.