Enforcement operations alone won't curb Mat Rempit menace, say experts

KUALA LUMPUR: Traffic enforcement operations by authorities to combat Mat Rempit activities on the country's roads are not the be-all and end-all solution to the problem, road safety experts say.

Experts believe that in tackling the issue of errant motorcyclists, a more holistic approach involving policymakers, authorities and civil society must be taken.

Head of the Road Safety Research Centre associate professor Dr Law Teik Hua said that everyone must play their role in curbing the Mat Rempit menace.

"Authorities need to come up with measures other than the traditional ones (of setting up roadblocks and conducting periodic traffic operations).

"They should set up a special task force that includes members of society, the authorities and policymakers."

He said that the burden to stem the Mat Rempit problem should not just fall with the police and its traffic enforcement department, but it should be the responsibility of all.

Law added that policymakers should act by amending the legal framework to ensure the imposition of harsher penalties and clearly define the designation for Mat Rempit.

"We need a clearer definition for these speeding and reckless motorcyclists. This is so that we can impose harsher penalties when they are detained during operations.

"Policymakers also should review and increase the penalty from RM300 to a few thousand ringgit in order to discourage them from engaging in such dangerous activities."

He added that parents of Mat Rempit should also be roped in as the majority of the illegal racers were youngsters.

"Authorities should first inform the parents of these youngsters, before issuing them a warning and taking stern action against them," he said.

Social activist and Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye echoed Law's sentiment, saying that the government should double down in providing a comprehensive solution by reaching out to other agencies such as the Youth and Sports Ministry and even talking to the Mat Rempit themselves.

"The time has come for the unity government to give some thought in tackling the issue. They should invite these illegal racers for a discussion, ask them about their issues and maybe provide a place for them to carry out such activities."

He said that traffic operations were not part of solving the problem.

"It's not sustainable to round them up every time there is an operation," he said when contacted by the New Straits Times.

Last night, a group of Mat Rempit was caught on video performing their daredevil stunts and taking part in illegal racing. It was captured by a motorist's dash cam at 10pm at the Kajang-Seremban Highway (Lekas) where it went viral on social media.

Some of the were involved in an accident, leaving one dead, while nine others suffered injuries.

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