Friday September 15, 2006
Illegal racers and spectators to face heavier fines and longer jail terms
By MARC LOURDES
KUALA LUMPUR: Mat Rempit beware!
The full force of the law will be applied to bring to a halt the stunts and antics of these reckless bikers. Even their fans and spectators will not be spared.
The illegal racers will have to slam on the brakes once amendments to the Road Transport Act come into effect.
City Traffic chief Asst Comm Hamzah Taib said spectators caught watching illegal motorcycle races and egging on the participants would also be subjected to prosecution under the amendments.
ACP Hamzah said that the Road Transport Act 1987 did not define illegal racing and had no definition of illegal racers.
“Apart from defining what illegal racing is, the police are also seeking heavier penalties for it, as well as laws to punish the spectators,” he said, adding that a proposal had been submitted to the Transport Ministry.
“At the moment, only the racers are charged – for reckless riding.”
The present punishment for those convicted of the offence for the first time is a maximum five years' imprisonment and a fine of between RM5,000 and RM15,000, while subsequent convictions carry a jail term of up to 10 years as well as a fine of RM10,000 to RM20,000.
Asked whether the recent movie Remp-it – which portrayed the lives of Mat Rempits – had any effect on illegal racers, ACP Hamzah said there were two sides to the argument surrounding the issue.
“On the one hand, some would say that the movie did glamorise illegal racing, but on the other, it also showed the consequences of the lives led by these people,” he added.
ACP Hamzah said the police had only arrested about 300 illegal racers in Kuala Lumpur this year but had conducted special operations to deal with the problem. These operations involve traffic personnel, narcotics police, CID and City Hall officers.
“We also send in undercover officers to infiltrate their groups and obtain intelligence on their activities,” he added.
He said police statistics showed that there were relatively-few cases in which Mat Rempits were involved in crimes like fighting or destruction of property.
He lauded recent attempts by Putera Umno to reach out to the illegal racers.
“It is a good move as they are trying to ‘civilise’ the racers. These people have a lot of determination and courage and if this can be channelled properly they can become productive members of society.”
ACP Hamzah also said illegal racing was a non-compoundable offence.
“This means that if somebody is charged under this offence they will have to face the music in court,” he added.