Mohd Zaidi Di, 39 (second from left) at Kuala Kangsar Magistrate’s Court today. Pix by L. Manimaran

KUALA KANGSAR: A trailer driver pleaded not guilty to driving while under the influence of drugs to the extent of causing the deaths of five people at the Magistrate's Court, here, today.

A court translator read out the charge to Mohd Zaidi Di, 39, in front of Magistrate Noorhidayah Mohd Saad.

He was charged with operating a trailer while under the influence of drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle and causing the deaths of three women, one man and a baby boy at KM255.3 of North South Expressway (NSE) northbound near the Menora Tunnel at about 11.47am last Saturday.

The five who died were Yew Poh Shy, 37; Teo Wee Tat, 46; Shaw Swee Me, 42; Lee Lin Ying, 60 and one-year-old Yew Yin Chin.

The charge was made under Section 44(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of RM20,000, upon conviction.

Prosecution was led by deputy public prosecutor Azhar Mokhtar, while the accused was unrepresented.

Earlier, the prosecution requested that the court does not allow bail because the offence was severe.

Azhar said the accused also has a record of 31 summonses involving various traffic violations since 1999 and was still driving recklessly.

However, the accused pleaded that bail be allowed as he needed to look after his parents who were ill as well as support his wife who was not working, and four children.

The court did not allow bail and ordered for the driver's license to be suspended and handed over to the court until the trial completes.

To enable for the submission of documents and for a lawyer to be appointed for the accused, the court set Nov 9 for remention.

In the incident, Mohd Zaidi was driving a trailer transporting iron ore from Johor Baru to Penang.

He then lost control of his vehicle, causing it to collide with a car carrying the five victims, resulting in the car being squeezed between the concrete divider in the middle of the highway and the lorry.

It then burst into flames and all five occupants of the car burnt to death.

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