Girl who drove against traffic tells court it was her first time on highway

Ng Pei Ven being led out of the Magistrate’s Court in Bukit Mertajam today, accompanied by a family member.

BUKIT MERTAJAM: The young girl who drove against traffic on the North-South Expressway (NSE), crashing into a number of vehicles two years ago, told the Magistrate’s Court here today that she had merely wanted to head back in the right direction.

Ng Pei Ven, now 21, said she had driven her Proton Gen 2 slowly with her hazard lights on, adding that it was her first time on the expressway.

She said she had panicked and come to a complete stop long before crashing into the other vehicles.

“I drove slowly to avoid the cars coming my way, and I left the double signal on.

“I came to a full stop and had not crashed into anyone yet at that time,” she said.

Ng, who spoke in Mandarin, was assisted by a court interpreter.

She said she could not remember how long she had been stationary on the opposite lane before a Perodua Kelisa crashed into her.

She said she recalled yanking on the steering wheel in an attempt to dodge the oncoming cars before coming to a stop.

Ng, who was 19 years old at the time, was charged with causing the death of the Kelisa driver, Mohamad Fandi Rosli, on March 24, 2017 at KM134 of the expressway by way of reckless driving under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987.

She faces a maximum jail sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of RM20,000 if she is found guilty.

She was ordered to present her defence today, and was also cross-examined by her lawyer and the prosecution.

Ng claimed trial to the charge in 2017, but proceedings were stalled after the magistrate at the time was transferred to another court.

Ng, who was found to possess an OKU or disabled person’s card, appeared to have difficulty in court today answering simple questions from her lawyer and the prosecution team.

Magistrate Sri Pracha Nanthini Balabedha said Ng could be under pressure from her parents who were seated in the gallery, as the girl was often seen glancing towards them when answering questions.

Sri Pracha also ordered that a hoarding be put around the witness stand.

Ng’s lawyer Lim Boon Beng asked if she had any disabilities, to which Ng said yes.

She said she was diagnosed with a learning disability in 2011 and was unable to communicate or understand things clearly.

She added that the Welfare Department had issued her the OKU card that same year.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari asked why she had driven against traffic and whether she had ever driven on the highway before.

Ng said she usually drove around her neighbourhood in Sungai Dua, Butterworth, or to her mother’s factory in town.

Amril then pointed out that the night before the incident, Ng had driven to Juru Auto City to attend a friend’s birthday party, using the NSE.

Ng affirmed this but said she was not very familiar with the highway.

Amril said as a new driver who had received her probationary driving licence only nine months before the incident, Ng should know that driving against traffic is illegal.

However, Ng said she did not understand the question.

It has been learnt that the defence will be calling in a doctor to attest to Ng’s learning disabilities, as well as a welfare officer who can confirm the validity of her OKU card.