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FIVE dead and several others injured. That was the price of a mat rempit race in the early hours of July 17 on the Lim Chong Eu Expressway in Penang. While I sympathise with the victims, I wonder why the government has not dealt with the longstanding road menace.

These are not like any other accidents. The illegal races on public roads endanger not only the racers themselves but also other road users.

Despite intermittent police action, the menace continues unabated. 

Mat rempit activities on public roads are clearly illegal and subject to penalties. The law even provides for the motorcycles to be confiscated. The Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020 with enhanced penalties for some offences (including reckless & dangerous driving/riding) came into effect on October 23, 2020. But it has not deterred the mat rempit.

Laws are a deterrent for the civic conscious, not the likes of mat rempit. They are defiant and aggressive. If enforcement does not send a strong message to them, they will continue.

Since law and enforcement do not work, is there any other solution?

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What did Bank Negara Malaysia do to stop people defacing bank notes? It came up with a simple yet effective way of stopping it. Defaced notes were declared non-legal tender, and overnight the defacement stopped.

In the case of the mat rempit, their machines are like defaced bank notes. Take drastic action and render the motorcycles unusable by turning them into scrap metal, much like the way confiscated ivory and drugs are destroyed. 

So long as they can get back their machines after paying the penalties, they will be at it again. Another amendment ought to be made to the law to the effect that motorcycles used for illegal racing on public roads will be mandatorily confiscated and crushed into heaps of scrap metal. No other penalty is required. They pay the penalty with their machines. Sending them to jail is making the public pay for their upkeep.

Sometimes it is necessary to be cruel to be kind. A little bit of cruelty will go a very long way to being kind to the mat rempit and countless other road users. So many lives have been lost and injured due to this road menace. 

A drastic situation needs drastic measures. The government should not hesitate to take a cheap and effective solution to the menace. – July 21, 2022.

* Ravinder Singh reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.


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