Malaysia plans stiff penalties to curb illegal
motorcycle racing on city streets

From International Herald Tribune of October 15, 2006
The Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Malaysian authorities will impose harsh penalties on illegal motorcycle racers who take over city roads at night to indulge in their noisy sport that many see as a menace.
The penalties include hefty fines, suspension of driving licenses and confiscation of vehicles, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters late Sunday.
He said the Cabinet has instructed the Transport Ministry to prepare the necessary legislation to stop the illegal racers, known colloquially as "Mat Rempit," or "street racing boy."
"We are also considering legal action against the sponsors or organizers of illegal racers. I hope it will be a strong enough signal to show how serious the government views the Mat Rempit problem," he said.
Most racers are young men who come out in droves on their motorcycles around midnight when traffic is light. They race in a collective cacophony, rousing people from sleep and intimidating other motorists. A daredevil stunt favored by the racers is to lift the front wheel up in the air and drive on the rear tire.
Najib said the punishment being considered is up to 10 years in jail and a fine of 20,000 ringgit (US$5,500; €4,300).
"Road safety should be strictly enforced and offenders should not be allowed to escape the law," he said.
The New Straits Times daily on Monday quoted Melaka state chief minister Mohammed Ali Rustam as saying authorities have given the racers enough warnings, and if they still refuse to reform "then it is better to send them to jail."
"They can repent while doing their time ... they are endangering their lives and those of other road users," he said.
On Saturday night, a group of 150 Mat Rempit racers were caught in Kuala Lumpur just as they were getting ready for a race, the New Straits Times said.

Putera Umno to set up clubs for Mat Rempit

By Dharmender Singh (From The Star Online of August 26, 2006)

SENSE OF BELONGING: Khairy (in red) clasping hands with one of the 1,500 Mat Rempit who gathered at Dataran Merdeka before going on a convoy around Kuala Lumpur Friday night.
KUALA LUMPUR: Putera Umno will set up clubs for the Mat Rempit (illegal street racers) around the country in an effort to reach out to the youngsters and change society's negative perception of them.
Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin said only a small group of the bikers raced illegally or broke the law but this had given rise to the general perception that they all posed a problem to society.
He said the clubs would give the youngsters a sense of belonging and the movement would use the platform to create awareness on the hazards of negative activities like drug abuse and juvenile delinquency.
Those who join the clubs will be asked to share this knowledge with others like them.
He said he hoped that the clubs would help to regulate the activities of the Mat Rempit.
“We want them to follow the law, but we need to have programmes to educate them. We will take them to the Road Transport Department (RTD) to get them to register for licences,” he said, adding that no one, including political parties, had reached out to the bikers.
Khairy was speaking to reporters after launching the Kembara Motor Putera at Dataran Merdeka which saw more than 1,500 Mat Rempit ride around Kuala Lumpur in a convoy.
The event was also aimed at collecting donations for victims in Lebanon and Palestine.
He said the event was the start of an ongoing campaign that would be headed by the Putera Umno.
He said asking the youngsters to donate and collect donations from their friends also allowed them to work towards good causes and have a sense of responsibility.
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