GEORGE TOWN: The Transport Ministry has set up a task force to look into amending the Road Transport Act to impose heavier penalties on those who are involved in illegal racing involving mat rempit and motorcycle modification workshops.
Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak said a higher fine will be imposed on those who are involved in illegal racing.
“We are considering imposing prison sentences on those who are involved.
“These illegal racers not only put their lives at risk but also other road users.
“We have set up a task force to get input from the Transport Ministry, Road Transport Department (JPJ), police, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the public to come up with a more holistic, integrated and comprehensive approach to solve this problem,” he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters here Tuesday (Aug 9).
He said the amendments to the Road Transport Act are expected to be tabled in the first Dewan Rakyat meeting next year.
Besides amending the law, Isham said they will take action against motorcycle modification workshops.
“We are considering involving local authorities to be given the authority to take back the licences of these workshops if there is evidence.
“We need a thorough and holistic study to solve this issue fairly.
“We will also take action against the spectators who are part of the illegal races.
“For illegal racers who are under 18 years old, their parents play an important role in curbing this behaviour.
“We will engage NGOs to give us input so that we can further strengthen the current law.
“Increasing the insurance premiums for those who have been involved in illegal racing might also be a viable solution,” he said.
As for a short-term solution, Isham said police and JPJ will continue having frequent operations and monitoring.
“We will try to try out short-term measures in Penang by using the defensive approach by placing cameras to capture the photos of suspects including spectators and illegal racers.
“If the solution works, we will continue to use the approach in other states.
“We need solutions which are effective and impactful to change such culture,” he said.
Penang police chief Commissioner Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said it is high time for the related authorities to draft an integrated strategy.
“This marks the beginning of a more comprehensive effort to curb this social problem.
“The police will work hand in hand with the JPJ and the public to share data and information to solve this problem, once and for all,” he said.
Also present were Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Comm Datuk Mat Kasim Karim and Penang JPJ director Adenan Md Isa.
On July 17, an accident - involving two cars and motorcycles - occurred near the Expressway's E-Gate at around 4.40am, claiming five lives.
A 17-second video posted on social media shows motorcyclists racing along the expressway before cutting to parts of the accident, with a motorcyclist knocking into the back of a car.
A row of motorcycles was later seen piled up on the road.