PETALING JAYA: A holistic approach involving the government, society and parents is needed to curb the mat rempit menace and overcome the social problems caused by them, said safety and social activists.

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called this a matter of serious concern, noting that it has now become a trend among youngsters.

“Not only do they pose a risk to road users but dangerous trends such as this also claim young lives. These are children who have yet to experience life,” he told theSun.

He said if not addressed properly, safety – on the road and in general – will take a back seat in our society.

“The topic of providing space for this group has been discussed before but in contrast to providing them space, those who perform these dangerous acts prefer to do them on public roads.

“They yearn for excitement and want to be in the public eye. It often feels like this group aims to put on a show of courage while weaving between larger vehicles. It’s sad because it feels like these riders do not care for their lives.”

Lee said to address this issue, we must first address the psychological make-up of youths today.

“We need to understand what pushes these youngsters to quench their adrenaline thirst, which often places their lives in the utmost danger.

“At the same time, I can’t help but question the parental education that these youngsters are receiving.

“If this is beyond the control of the parents themselves, it then becomes the responsibility of the government and society.

“Law enforcement (officers) have been trying their best to curb this issue with various operations but it has yet to be tackled effectively,” he added.

“Laws can constantly be passed but education and the spread of awareness should be given importance first.

“The psychology of a mat rempit needs to be studied thoroughly so that we may understand why they behave the way they do,” he said.

Lee suggested getting former or current mat rempit to help with the spread of awareness on the topic.

“Invite these people to explain to their audience what prompted them to behave the way they did.

“Psychologists and counsellors should also study these people to try and understand their minds.”

Lee said parents should also be careful when giving their children money as they may misuse it.

“Ask your children what they intend to use the cash for and monitor them too.

“This way, the basikal lajak phenomenon may be addressed,” he said.

Agreeing with Lee, Asli Centre for Public Policy chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said the government should attempt to understand the root cause of the issue.

“Why is it so prominent in Malaysia?

“Is this due to a lack of awareness or unemployment?”

He said if left unchecked, the issue would continue to grow, resulting in youths taking up such illegal activities.

“I would suggest government leaders and our nation’s rulers come together to help spread the word on this issue. Push out statements to show their dissatisfaction and condemn these activities,” he added.

“We do not want this subculture to reflect badly on Malaysia. Such cultures would have a negative impact on the minds of our youths.

“Parents need to be extra cautious when it comes to their children. If they don’t, it will be reflective of a breakdown of discipline in our society in every aspect,” he said.

He suggested that the relevant authorities should reward whistleblowers who expose mat rempit or basikal lajak activities.

“This cannot be fixed if we do not come together and work as one.

“We need a people’s movement against this issue that is plaguing our youths and taking their lives away. Moreover, we do not want to be seen as a country with a declining discipline rate,” he said.