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Monday, January 17, 2011

Amendments to Road Transport Act go into effect Feb 1st

Source From: The Star News

Most amendments to the Road Transport Act will come into force beginning Feb 1st, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha on Monday.

However, amendments related to hybrid cars and fully electric cars would come later as some technical issues needed to be tweaked, he said.

The amendments coming into force include expanding the powers of the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to take action against traffic offenders on all roads in the country, incuding areas such as farms, gardens, villages, residential areas and multi-storey car parks.

“The widening of JPJ enforcement powers beyond public roads will also protect the people because they will now be able to make insurance claims even if they have an accident in a multi-storey car park,” he told a press conference after a visit to the JPJ Data Centre here on Monday.

The amendments to the Act also require vehicle owners who change their address to give two-weeks notice to the JPJ, failing which, legal action could be take against them, including a fine of up to RM300.

“There is a lot of misconception over the amendments like the need to notify the JPJ within two-months when the clause was already in the act even before this and actually requires vehicle owners to inform the department within one month.

He also said the panel investigating the double-decker bus accident in Cameron Highlands on Dec 20th 2010 would submit its report in two months.

Twenty-six Thai tourists and two Malaysians were killed when a tour bus overturned at Km15 of the Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai Road as it was heading from the highlands to Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to reporters after the press conference, JPJ director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said the department was working to quickly iron out details of the amendments that would not come into force on Feb 1 and expected the amendments to be fully enforced by the end of March.

He said the department had always used discretion in carrying out enforcement exercises and he was sure the officers would not be going into villages and estates just to issues summonses as claimed by some parties.

On the Data Centre, Kong said it would operate round-the-clock and enable the department to maintain all information on all types of licenses and vehicle records including road tax renewals and vehicle inspections.

He said the department picked a separate facility away from the department headquarters in Putrajaya to ensure only staff working there would have access to the facility and thus reduce any chance of sabotage to the system.

Solah said the data centre would allow all information, including that from other agencies like the police, to be updated in real time and this would overcome current complaints of drivers still appearing as blacklisted after having settled their summonses.

He said since the information could be easily accessed, it would also allow the department to suspend offenders under the demerit system within 21 days instead of the six months previously as it would no longer require drivers or vehicle owners to physically surrender their licences.

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