PETALING JAYA: The feeling of wanting to try new things is one of the main reasons teenagers get involved in the dangerous Mat Lajak activity, said social expert Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran.
Dr Mohammad Shatar, who is UPM deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), said youths were drawn to new risky acts, especially if they were trending or popular on social media.
“It is something that our youths are interested in and they will have a high interest if something is currently a popular trend.
“If they are in a group, they will likely follow their friends to try such acts,” he said in an interview here yesterday.
Parents and the public, said Dr Mohammad Shatar, could play a greater role in monitoring the movements of teenagers involved in activities such as Mat Lajak.
“If they see such activities, they can report them to the authorities. Parents can also talk to their children and monitor their movements to check on what they are doing,” he said.
Malaysia National Cycling Federation deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad said there was nothing wrong in modifying bicycles by fitting them with motorcycle accessories as long as the bicycles were used at proper places.
“We want youths to have creativity and innovation and there is nothing wrong in trying to ‘re-create’ the bicycles.
“However, they should organise their cycling programmes at a proper place – either at a closed vicinity or roads or an open field.
“Road users should also be careful as they are sharing the road with cyclists. Most importantly, cyclists should always follow the traffic laws,” he said.
If cyclists wished to use public roads, Naim said they must inform the police or the local authorities before doing so.
“It must be at the right time and not at night. If it involves a big number of cyclists, they must get permission from the local authorities so that their welfare and safety will be protected,” he said.
He proposed that all schools set up their own cycling clubs so that students could organise their own activities through proper channels.
“We can start by having clubs in primary and secondary schools, with instructors who can guide these young cyclists.
“At the same time, students can also be exposed to basic mechanical knowledge when they have to repair their own bicycles,” he said.