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Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has reiterated that the idea behind holding motorcycle street races in KL is not to legalise Mat Rempit, but merely give them space to race, The Sun reports.

“I’m not legalising them, but I’m just giving them the space. After giving them space, hopefully they will not race in neighborhoods. Maybe we can allow these races to take place monthly once or twice,” he explained, adding that parties that were against his suggestion didn’t understand his vision behind the plan.

“They don’t understand because they don’t walk the streets like I do. Pity these Mat Rempit. Most of them race because they don’t have other entertainment,” he explained. He also said that aside from keeping them from racing in neighbourhood areas, the action will also curb the illegal betting that comes with illegal racing.

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He said that his proposal would be similar to car free mornings organised on Sundays every fortnightly in the city. “Maybe they can take similar routes and then end in Padang Merbok and have some entertainment activities there, like jamming sessions or something,” Tengku Adnan said, adding that he will be talking to JPJ, the police and Ministry of Transport to iron out the details.

Last month, Tengku Adnan had mooted the idea of closing specific roads once a week to allow motorcyclists to race in legal fashion. Despite reservations – and criticism – from various quarters, the idea continues to persist, and there’s even the suggestion that the plan, if it comes about, may also be expanded to include cities in East Malaysia.

City mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz has said that he is open to the idea and wanted bikers to submit proposals, adding that DBKL would assist in road closures and other matters. The police, however, have been more cautious on the matter.

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. The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, has stated he will meet with Tengku Adnan to discuss the matter further.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said a detailed study on the topic – including looking into traffic congestion and accident risk issues – needs to be carried out. Meanwhile, the public doesn’t think very much of the idea – in an online poll, 97% of respondents said no to the government’s proposal to hold legalised motorcycle street races.