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The idea of allowing Mat Rempits to race on city streets legally under the authorities’ watch, proposed by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor earlier this week, appears to be gathering steam. The Star reports that Mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz is open to the idea and wants bikers to submit proposals.

“We have just opened up a new bridge that connects Taman Metropolitan Batu to Kampung Batu Muda. We welcome them to put up a proposal for racing there. We will assist them in terms of road closures and other matters,” the mayor said.

Fortunately (if you were one of those who were shocked to hear of Tengku Adnan’s proposal), the police and the Road Safety Department (JKJR) are more cautious. Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Comm Datuk Muhammad Fuad Abu Zarim said a proper discussion with the Federal Territories Ministry needed to be held on the proposal to close roads for races.

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“Not all roads can be closed for such races,” he said, adding that any decision must consider the convenience of all motorists. “It must also ensure that traffic flow in the city is not disrupted.”

JKJR director-general Abd Ghafar Yusof raised concerns about traffic jams and the safety of people gathered on the pavement if such races were held. He compared legal Mat Rempit races to last year’s inaugural KL City Grand Prix event and the problems that arose with the street race.

“Firstly, the traffic jam that can result from diverting traffic. Secondly, the audience, in terms of safety because if the races are legalised and something happens to the people around, how are they going to claim for insurance and such? It’s not a question of whether it should or should not be done, but about the pros and cons of having such races and how many people will benefit or have issues with the event,” he said.

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Earlier this week, Malay Mail Online reported on the idea that is hoped to curb illegal racing. “Probably in one week, one or two days, we will give it like the car-free day but only for Mat Moto to race at night,” Tengku Adnan told reporters, adding that he preferred to term these bikers Mat Moto rather than Mat Rempits.

“We don’t want illegal racing, but we want them to race in a specific place. If they want to race, it’s okay but we (will) give them a place where we can control with safety barriers and all. We will control the situation because we realise that this is an entertainment for them. They have no other means to entertain themselves because of high costs,” he explained.

“We will provide a suitable place and probably we will organise a fiesta, where we have food trucks selling food and other things to help them. It’s not encouraging, but you see, we want to see what the people like,” the FT minister added.