No more kid gloves for Mat Rempit

GEORGE TOWN: The days of illegal street racers and their supporters getting away with a slap on the wrist look to be over.

The racers could face a minimum fine of RM5,000 and jail time too from next year. The current minimum fine is a paltry RM300.

ALSO READ: Experts have ideas on how to curb Mat Rempit menace

Spectators watching by the roadside and the parents of underage racers will also not be spared under proposed amendments to Section 42 of the Road Transport Act 1987.

Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak said the proposed amendments would also punish workshop operators who provide motorcycle modification for illegal racing purposes.

“These illegal racers not only put their own lives at risk but also that of other road users.

“We are looking at increasing the minimum fine amount to between RM5,000 and RM10,000 from RM300.

“Spectators who are part of the illegal races will also face action.

“Parents too play an important role in curbing their children’s behaviour, especially those aged under 18,” he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters here yesterday.

The amendments to the Act will be the third after previous ones which saw heavier penalties for drink driving and the regulation of ehailing riders.

Isham said the amendments were likely to be tabled in the first Dewan Rakyat meeting next year.

He said a task force had been set up to get input from the ministry, Road Transport Department (JPJ), police, non-governmental organisations and the public.

“We need a holistic study and approach to solve this issue fairly.

“Workshop operators who modify bikes for street racing purposes may see their licences revoked.

“Increasing the insurance premiums for those who have been involved in illegal racing is also being considered,” he said.

In the short-term, Isham said police and the JPJ would continue with operations to stop the Mat Rempit racing.

“We will place cameras in illegal racing hotspots to identify the racers and spectators, starting in Penang,” he said.

“If it works, we will use the same approach in other states.”

Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said it was high time the authorities drafted an integrated strategy to curb the menace.

“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.

On July 17, an accident involving illegal street racers claimed five lives – Mohd Haziq Harris, 34, Muhammad Shazwan Hakim Mohd Abdul Sani, 22, Muhammad Eizreel Muhamad Roszaidi, 25, Ahmad Haikal Naif Ahmad Nazrul, 19, and Muhammad Harith Zikri Yusnizar, 17.

Another rider who was injured, Muhammad Rahimi Shukor, 19, has since been discharged from hospital.

Muhammad Shazwan Hafiz Mohd Abdul Sani, 22, was transferred to a private hospital for treatment.

According to traffic police data, there have been 329,296 accidents involving motorcycles from 2019 to 2021.

In the three years, 10,188 motorcyclists died: 3,959 people in 2019, 3,118 in 2020, and 3,111 in 2021.

Also present at the press conference yesterday were Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Comm Datuk Mat Kasim Karim and Penang JPJ director Adenan Md Isa.

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