PETALING JAYA: Police have cautioned that Malaysia’s transition to the endemic phase of Covid-19 may bring back an unwanted problem – the return of the much-dreaded mat rempit.
According to statistics from the Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department, a total of 632 offenders were arrested and 9,117 summonses issued as a result of the “Ops Samseng Jalanan” this year.
Department deputy director DCP Datuk Mohd Nadzri Hussain said 399 operations had been conducted and 967 vehicles have been impounded.
“This was done between January and March and reflects our commitment to combat street gangsterism at the grassroots.”
He said the shift into the endemic phase may contribute to an increase in such activities, where motorcycle groups engage in illegal acts.
Mohd Nadzri was commenting on an incident on Saturday where three boys aged between 15 and 16 were killed after they were involved in a crash while riding motorcycles in Masai, Johor.
He said 1,125 operations were carried out in 2020, with 2,878 offenders arrested, 20,603 summonses issued and 2,694 vehicles seized.
In 2021, 1,569 operations were conducted, with 2,560 arrests, 24,481 summonses issued and 3,370 vehicles impounded.
“Riding a motorcycle and committing dangerous acts just for the sake of creating content and getting views on social media is an offence under the Road Transport Act 1987, and those involved in street gangsterism can be charged under Section 42 (1).
“Those involved in such acts can directly cause harm to themselves as well as other road users. These acts are becoming increasingly alarming and a threat to public order.
“This phenomenon is a serious social problem involving mainly teenagers and efforts are being intensified by police to address the problem as best as possible,”
he told theSun.
Mohd Nadzri said the department is also considering using the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) against illegal racers, which is seen as an effective action to reduce the activity given the punishment provided under the Act.
“The department has a unit that will constantly monitor social media channels to detect and act against those who post dangerous riding acts online.
“Police will also conduct road safety campaigns with the help of government agencies, departments and the community to reduce the rate of road accidents, such as Op Selamat, Ops Didik and Ops Integrated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia Road Safety Research Centre head Assoc Prof Dr Law Teik Hua said to solve the problem, public support and participation are essential, including notifying authorities on mat rempit activities.
He added that motorists on the road may be unable to see the speeding motorcyclists due to a variety of reasons.
“First, motorcycles have a low level of visibility. Motorcycles are small, and mat rempit usually do not wear luminous vests. Secondly, they ride at high speed and car drivers do not have enough time to respond appropriately.
“Thirdly, a quick shift in the riding position on the travel lane makes it difficult for vehicles to notice them on the road.
“Sensory conspicuity refers to the ability of an object to be distinguished from a given background when an observer is not intentionally looking for it. As a result, based on the foregoing facts, the existence of mat rempit would increase the likelihood of a road crash.”
Apart from halting the spread and growth of this culture online, Law suggested that authorities enhance road safety education in schools and utilise an intelligent traffic surveillance system to detect mat rempit activities, especially on expressways.
The use of the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 against errant motorcyclists is being considered and is seen as an effective move given the punishment provided under the Act. – Filepic