Put the safety of rakyat above all, extend parliament sitting: MP Kasthuriraani

Media statement by DAP Member of Batu Kawan and International Secretary of Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on 4th May 2020 in Batu Kawan, Penang:

Put the safety of the rakyat above all and extend the May 18 Parliament sitting to discuss preventive measures and heavier punishments through legislative amendments and policy changes on drunk driving before another life is lost at the hands of drunk drivers.

Malaysians mourn together on the untimely loss of Corporal Safwan Muhammad Ismail when he was hit by a drunk driver near the Kajang South Toll plaza yesterday. Especially at a time like this when the whole country is on a Movement Control Order, our frontliners risk their lives everyday as they courageously and diligently carry out their duties while we stay safe at home.

Yesterday another life was lost to the irresponsible, inconsiderate behaviour of drunk driver demons.

I had put in a Parliament question on Feb 21 2020 on preventive measure to be taken by the Government to address this very crucial issue, that should have been answered in the March 9th sitting. However, with PN grabbing power in March this year, the Dewan Rakyat sitting was defected to 18th of May to a ONE day sitting only.

This comes again as a surprise that the current Government couldn’t care less about the fate of our frontliners who are on road block duties, and Malaysians at large who have had their loved ones cruelly robbed from them at the hands of drunk drivers.

Two Ministers, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin and the Minister for Water and Environment Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man have expressed their unhappiness on the recent fatal accident and the need for legislative amendments to the Road Transport Act – both support heavier punishments.

Shouldn’t their concerns be tabled in Parliament in the coming sitting?

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has yet to make a statement on preventive measures and heavier penalties including higher fines, longer jail terms and a suspension of driving licences.

Minister for Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin has also not said anything on premises that sell or serve alcoholic beverages and how they can play a role in ensuring drunk drivers don’t get behind the wheel. Surely, she can prioritise the need to look at best practices by other countries and their success stories in managing the number of drunk drivers on the road.

Heavier penalties will work to some extent but the real challenge is to come up with proposals immediately on what the Government can do to prevent drunk driving. Preventive measures and heavier penalties must work hand in glove to face and eradicate and eliminate drunk driving.

What else needs to be done for the Minister of Transport, the Home Minister, Minister for Housing and Local Government and the Minister for Environment and Water to grow a spine, and to put their foot down to table this paramount matter up in the coming cabinet meeting to pressure the Prime Minister and Government, especially the Minister of Law who is also in charge of Parliamentary Affairs to guarantee that the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting on 18 May be extended to 2 weeks so that a Government motion is proposed to debate preventive measures to eradicate drunk driving as well as imposing heavier penalties by all MPs

With the MCO prematurely and partially lifted today, with more premises open, I fear the numbers of road accidents will swell again, including ones caused by drunk driving.

Let no more of our policemen and our frontliners on duty, as well as Malaysians be victims of drunk driving, through a Government that is dragging its feet to ensure that legislative amendments and policy changes take the utmost priority along with COVID19 and employment matters to be tabled in the coming Parliament sitting.

It took one week for Perikatan Nasional to wedge its way to form Government in Malaysia, against the mandate of the people. Surely the Prime Minister can push for Parliament to convene for 2 weeks to discuss important matters of and for the rakyat.

Malaysians grief together with the family of the late Corporal Safwan Muhammad and many other Malaysians who have died at the hands of drunk driving demons on the road. Salam takziah to the family of Corporal Safwan Muhammad.

#KitaJagaKita #KitaJagaSemua

Kasthuriraani Patto
Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan
International Secretary for Wanita DAP