Cops: There’ll be no let-up

Recipe for disaster: A group of mat lajak hanging out in Shah Alam during the wee hours of the morning yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: There will be continuous monitoring throughout the country to keep mat lajak off the road, says the Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department.

Explaining about the dangers of the activity, department director Comm Datuk Mat Kasim Karim said: “Modifications made to these bicycles are outrageous. These bikes should not be on the road as they do not follow the specifications.”

He was referring to “mosquito bikes” which have been modified by their owners so that they could be used to race on the road. The riders are known colloquially as mat lajak.

Their bicycles are excessively modified to allow riders to go faster and perform Superman-style stunts. The brakes are usually removed to eliminate excess friction and weight.

Mat lajak has once again come under public scrutiny following last week’s High Court sentencing of a female clerk to six years’ jail for reckless driving that led to the 2017 death of eight boys riding modified bicycles in the wee hours of the morning.

It led to a firestorm of views with many Malaysians questioning why young cyclists should be out on the road on modified bicycles.

Comm Mat Kasim, when contacted, said action would be taken against those who break the rules.

However, he advised parents to be more involved in their children’s activities.

“Parents have a role to play; so does the local community. We don’t want the same tragedy to happen again,” he said in reference to the deaths of the eight underage youths riding mosquito bikes.

Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department principal assistant director Supt Dr Bakri Zainal Abidin said 156 mat lajak were arrested in 2019 and 2020.

Over 60% of the cases involved children age 12 and below. And most of them were caught in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. All their bikes were confiscated.

No arrests were made last year in view of the movement control order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Supt Bakri said the activity seemed to have subsided when the authorities began to take action against parents for negligence under the Child Act.

“In 2019, action was taken against six parents for leaving their children unsupervised,” he said.

He said many of the videos of mat lajak that had been circulated of late were old ones which resurfaced.

“However, we will continue to monitor such activities nationwide,” he added.

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