In the early hours of New Year’s Day the police conducted an operation at the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway in Penang to catch the Mat Rempits going out for their first “joy ride” of 2020. The reported number of Mat Rempits caught and hauled up to the Bayan Lepas police station for processing was in the hundreds. The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) had mixed feelings, as we imagine many others did, upon reading these reports.
This is just one of the many “Mat Rempit” incidences over the years. The police did a good job putting a stop to their activities before they even started; but catching them is not enough. Year after year it is the same thing. Police keep catching them but more Mat Rempits keep appearing. The authorities need to put a stop to Mat Rempits once and for all.
All around the world there are activities that involve groups of people and their motorcycles. For instance there are motorcycle racing and motorcycle clubs. While these activities are not part of our culture, and are a waste of resources with adverse environmental impact, the individuals or groups involved do not make a nuisance of themselves or pose a danger to the public.
Mat Rempit-ing on the other hand is something else entirely. Mat Rempits display illegal road behaviour that endangers not only themselves but everyone else around them; and many Mat Rempits have hoodlum attitudes. This kind of behaviour and conduct is extremely unacceptable.
The reasons why people keep “becoming” Mat Rempits is because it is easy and they can get away with it most of the time.
To curb the Mat Rempit culture the authorities should ban Mat Rempit-ing individuals from getting any kind of road vehicle license for an extended period of time. Some may argue that this is useless since many Mat Rempits actually do not have bike riding license; however the point is to blacklist them.
Secondly, once these individuals have been blacklisted they should be sent for mandatory civic rehabilitation to change their Mat Rempit behaviour.
We ask that the authorities start taking serious proactive measures against Mat Rempits. The authorities must take both preventive and corrective action Mat Rempit-ing is to ever be curbed. The government should commission a study on why many youths resort to Mat Rempit-ing and take appropriate measures to eliminate this social disease.
Letter to the Editor, 13 January 2020