Expert says illegal racing problem lies in childhood neglect

PETALING JAYA - The mat rempit problem may have its roots in childhood neglect, and any attempt to solve it must start from the home, says a transport expert.

Universiti Sains Malaysia Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah said studies have shown that many rempit were found to have grown up without proper parental guidance.

"Parents sometimes take it easy when they (the children) want to get on the bike.

"It actually starts from there. When you don't control their excess, then they get into company and it becomes a social trend," he said.

He was replying to a proposal to close off certain city roads to allow mat rempit to race, adding that such ideas didn't address the root of the problem.

Prof Ahmad said mat rempit lacked outlets to release their adreĀ­naline, and turned to motorcycles as a result.

He said many weren't used to the idea of riding safely, and that public roads were not safe racing environments.

Universiti Malaya's Prof Dr Mohamed Rehan Karim seemed puzzled at the proposal as well, adding that mat rempit did not have safe racing styles.

"They're lying on the motorbike and legs straight off (in the air). I don't think that's good to emulate," he said, referring to the "Superman" rempit racing move.

Prof Mohamed said "daredevil" motorcyclists knew what they were doing, and did not take safety lightly.

He said city streets needed to be properly surfaced for high-speed races, and if people really wanted to race, they should take it to professional circuits.

Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said races - especially public ones - needed to be managed properly so that they would be safe for both racers and spectators.

"There needs to be major investment of time and funds for proper maintenance.

"The question is - is this worth investing in?" he asked.

He said detailed studies were needed before these races could be held, and worried that the idea would not address the problem.