KUALA LUMPUR: Plans to rein in mat rempit and engage them in productive activities have been hampered by their continued dangerous riding antics.
On June 5, Malacca Civil Defence Force associate corporate officers category chairman Kol (PA) Mike Thein said it was studying a plan to recruit mat rempit to be part of a motorcycle ambulance team.
But in Penang just 24 hours later, footage of a biker performing a “Superman” stunt at high speed while approaching the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway traffic light was uploaded on social media.
The motorcyclist crashed into a car, injuring the driver. The mat rempit died on the spot.
From 2020 to June 2022, 6,889 individuals were detained as part of the nationwide “Op Samseng Jalanan”.
“The behaviour of mat rempit and their actions on the road, such as racing illegally or riding recklessly, have become a danger to other road users,” said then Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Datuk Seri Mat Kasim Karim.
Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research associate member Tengku Ahmad Marwan Tengku Mahmud said road crashes involving mat rempit usually occur when there are motorcycle events or activities.
“This is because they usually move in a convoy. Illegal racing activities on weekends are also among the frequent causes of crashes involving mat rempit.”
He said mat rempit frequently engage in dangerous actions, such as riding at high speeds, especially in the presence of other road users.
Tengku Ahmad added that unsafe modifications of their motorcycles led to many of them losing control on the road and putting others in danger.
“Sometimes, they act aggressively towards others if their activities are interrupted. This also leads to problems such as road rage, which includes damaging other vehicles.”
To deal with mat rempit and related issues, police formed a special unit known as Squad 42 in 2016 to halt their activities.
“Heavier punishments and fines would reduce the interest of youths in getting involved in mat rempit activities,” he said.
“The authorities can also use the Child Act 2001, which allows for legal action against parents and guardians for failing to prevent minors from engaging in such activities.”
Lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent said when it comes to mat rempit, people mostly talk about dangerous motorcyclists and racing.
“The applicable laws are Sections 41 and 43 of the Road Transport Act 1987. Police regularly conduct operations and charge numerous people as a result.”
He said there are legal differences between types of mat rempit activities, such as spontaneous street racing, organised events and extreme motorcycle modifications.
Geethan added that each offence can be punished according to different legal provisions.
“What is needed are specific provisions that make it a criminal offence to perform illegal modifications on motorcycles.
“It must also be made illegal to have parts or materials to carry out illegal modifications. This way, such modifications will stop.”