Social media in Malaysia saw an increase in viral stories involving motorcyclists and road enforcement officers recently, may it be the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Road Transport Department (JPJ) or even the city council. These include the hullabaloo surrounding the cancelled event involving Yamaha RX-Z motorcycle owners dubbed the RXZ Member 5.0 gathering, the seizure of 25 motorcycles which obstructed pedestrian walkways by the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) and the seizure of a p-hailing rider’s motorcycle who didn’t renew its road tax and insurance for some 7 months.
However, the most shocking story of this ilk has got to be the motorcyclist who crashed into a JPJ officer at a roadblock in Negeri Sembilan. Going viral on social media, the motorcyclist can be seen trying to evade the authorities and ended up mowing down one of the officers manning the roadblock.
As reported by The Star, the man, 25-year-old Nor Khairul Azwa Azizi has since been hauled up to the Magistrate court and was fined RM5,000 for the offence. However, following the court’s decision, many find the punishment towards the perpetrator rather underwhelming in comparison to the offence committed.
So, why was the motorcyclist ‘only’ fined RM5,000 for the offence? Shouldn’t he face a harsher punishment?
Well, join us below as we delve into the relevant laws and regulations on the matter.
Possible laws that the motorcyclist broke
Based on what was reported on the incident, the motorcyclist can be deemed to have broken several laws. First and foremost, given that the man was driving without a valid licence, he was in clear violation of Section 26 of the Road Transport Act 1987 below:
Accordingly, Section 26(2) of the Act prescribes a punishment of a fine between RM300 and RM2,000 or up to 3 months of imprisonment to anyone found guilty of the offence. Furthermore, based on Section 26(1), should the motorcycle belong to another person and was loaned to the man, the owner of the motorcycle may also face the same punishment under Section 26(2) as it is an offence to permit another person without a valid driving licence to drive a motor vehicle on the road.
Besides that, it could also be argued that the motorcyclist’s actions are in violation of Section 42(1) of the Road Transport Act for reckless and dangerous driving below:
According to the provision, an individual is considered to have committed an offence of reckless and dangerous driving if they drive a motor vehicle on a road recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which having regard to all the circumstances (including the nature, condition and size of the road and the amount of traffic which is or might be expected to be on the road) is dangerous to the public. Upon conviction, the offender faces up to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine between RM5,000 to RM15,000. Moreover, if the offence is the second or subsequent conviction, the punishment is increased to up to 10 years in jail and to a fine between RM10,000 to RM20,000.
As for the motorcyclist’s action in trying to evade the roadblock and crashing into the JPJ officer, it could be deemed as an offence under Section 353 of the Penal Code below:
Crashing the vehicle into the officer could be deemed as assaulting or using criminal force so as to prevent the public servant from executing his duty, which in this case, to man the roadblock and inspect road users and their motor vehicles for any offences. An individual convicted under this provision faces up to 2 years in jail or a fine or both.
In lieu of the above, the motorcyclist may also be charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing public servant in the discharge of his public functions below:
Anyone convicted under this provision may face up to 2 years of imprisonment or up to RM10,000 fine or both.
Why the motorcyclist was only fined RM5,000
While the accused could’ve been charged under any of the above laws based on what was reported in the case, the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) of the case determined that the most relevant charge would be under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing public servant in the discharge of his public functions. In a criminal proceeding, DPPs play an important role as they are the principal prosecuting authority.
Moreover, DPPs are tasked to determine whether or not the evidence provided by the investigating officer is sufficient to prove a prima facie case. Essentially, they decide whether to charge the accused or not without fear or favour.
In relation to this case, while the police initially said that the accused was being investigated under Section 353 of the Penal Code for using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty, the investigation officer may have changed the charge after studying the statements recorded from witnesses and suspects, as well as documentary evidence collected during the investigation.
During the proceeding, the accused was not represented by any lawyer and pleaded guilty before Magistrate Uthman Abd Ghani. While the maximum sentence under Section 186 of the Penal Code is 2 years imprisonment or RM10,000 fine or both, the learned judge sentenced the man to an RM5,000 fine after considering several factors.
The DPP urged the court to take into account that the man caused injuries to the officer and impose a deterrent sentence. Meanwhile, the accused pleaded for a minimal fine as he had to provide for his pregnant wife and son, as well as the fact that he had lost his job as a security guard due to the incident.
Hence, based on the factors above, the learned judge determined that an RM5,000 fine is the most just punishment. Furthermore, Magistrate Uthman Abd Ghani also ordered that the accused serve 3 months in jail should he fail to pay the RM5,000 fine.
Moving forward, let this viral case be a reminder for all other road users in the country to adhere to the law and cooperate with the authorities.