Street racer turns passion into trade

Labour of love: Mohamad Hakimi fixing a motorcycle at his canopy workshop at the low cost flats in Taman Tun Sardon, Gelugor, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A motorcycle street racer during his teen years, Muhammad Hakimi Ahmad Fadzil now runs a workshop below the Taman Tun Sardon low-cost flats here.The 24-year-old started the business in September last year after graduating from the GiatMara skills training institute in Perak.

However, his workshop is unlike most others. Under the tiny space of a canopy, he operates without solid walls or an actual door.

The tools and parts are stored in a rack and at night he covers up the space and hopes that nobody would break in to steal anything.

“It costs about RM5,500 to set up this place and I have friends coming often to fix their bikes.

“Most of them are still into bike racing,” the mechanic said in an interview yesterday.

Now married with a three-month-old daughter, Muhammad Hakimi was originally from Taiping, Perak, and he recalled a tough childhood before settling down in Penang.

“My father lived here for about 15 years, working as a cargo lorry driver in the day and a garbage truck driver for the local council at night.

“He had little time for me at home, so my grandparents became my guardians in Taiping,” he added.

Muhammad Hakimi said he studied until Form Three before enrolling in a vocational college and getting a skills certificate.

It was during his teenage years after obtaining his motorcycle licence that he became fascinated with racing.

“I would often ride on expressways in Penang whenever I was back from studies on the weekends.

“I guess I am good in mechanical jobs, as my father always told me that I’m good with working with the spanner.

“So I took up the course in line with my hobby and then set up the workshop here as most of my friends who share the same interest are here,” he added.

He said he made enough for quite a comfortable life.

He feels he is just an ordinary man like many others born and raised in such living conditions across the country.

Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sneham Malaysia founder Datuk Dr Florence Sinniah said in a recent engagement session with some 30 teenagers living in the Desa Wawasan low-cost flats – the state’s People’s Housing Project (PPR) with 918 units – that almost all were struggling to plan for their future.

“They are faced with socio-economic problems, just as the elders in the family are, and they do not have a clear direction of their future.

“They feel lost and admit to getting involved in unhealthy activities,” said Florence, adding that some of the teens were from broken homes.

In the end, they would end up doing odd jobs to fill the time, like what their parents and those around them have done, she added.

Yesterday, The Star reported on the mental health issues faced by children living in the PPR.

Factors such as denser households, cramped living conditions, the unavailability of youth-friendly facilities and, in some cases, a lack of adult supervision, could make growing up in a PPR harder.

Health experts said that social intervention programmes are needed in dealing with these issues.

They also said that there was a global mental health pandemic, especially among teenagers, and Malaysia was no exception.

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Muhammad Hakimi Ahmad Fadzil ,


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