By Khatijah Jistoh and Anis Amira
KUALA LUMPUR: Owning a motorcycle and having interest in modifying the two-wheeled vehicle does not mean a person is a ‘mat rempit’ or street gangster.
However, due to the perception that people are often ‘fed’ with, they label all motorcyclists in the same manner.
In fact, only a small number of motorcyclists are from the group, with the rest merely being ‘mat motor’, or motorcycle enthusiasts, according to director and actor, Pekin Ibrahim, 34, who also considers himself as a mat motor.
Pekin, who directed the movie ‘Mat Moto’, said he did not like being called a ‘mat rempit’ as the word carries a negative meaning, and is often associated with illegal races and social problems.
“The so-called mat rempit are also ‘stubborn’ against the law, in contrast to those known as mat motor, who are often more careful,” he told Bernama recently.
However, Pekin said, generally there is no precise definition of both the labels, as they are terms made up by the mass media, and not words recorded in a dictionary.
Pekin said he himself had previously been misunderstood by a woman as being a mat rempit because he rode a high-powered motorcycle.
Meanwhile, a civil servant who only wanted to be known as Zaidi, claimed to have been involved in illegal racing before.
He said mat rempit were those who loved freedom, liked to show off stunts, and often moved in groups.
“There are no mat rempits who go solo,” he said, adding that most of the motorcycles used by this group were of the ‘kapcai’ type, which were heavily modified to make them more powerful.
Zaidi said this was in contrast to mat motors, who often made cosmetic changes to their motorcycles.
Meanwhile Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) School of Psychology and Human Development senior lecturer, Dr Nasrudin Subhi said those who were usually involved in mat rempit activities were those at the end of adolescence or early adulthood, and single.
“Young bloods have drive and their courage level is very high. They are not too young or middle-aged adults, who when they mature, will undoubtedly think about their future,” Nasrudin told Bernama recently.
Given their young age, Nasrudin suggested the group be provided with skills classes, as one of the ways to utilise their free time.
“This will improve their skills, and enable them to use them to generate income on a small scale, because those who are involved in rempit activities, after reaching a certain level of maturity will stop it,” he said.
Recently, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor suggested that motorcycle race tracks be provided in certain areas of the capital to meet the needs and interests of young people known as mat moto.
However, there are those who oppose this proposal, linking the race to mat rempits.