Recently, a video went viral in Malaysia of a man who allegedly had enough of the ruckus caused by a group of illegal street racers or ‘mat rempit’ and decided to take matters into his own hands. Using two objects believed to be wooden sticks, the man can be seen standing in the middle of a road in Kemaman, Terengganu where the mat rempits were performing their unruly acts.
Wearing a sarong and a sleeveless black shirt, the man can be seen calling out to the biker group while brandishing the two objects. At the start of the video, we can see at least one of the bikers running a red light while riding dangerously.
The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has since confirmed that it is looking into the incident. The man in sarong is being investigated for criminal intimidation while the mat rempits for reckless and dangerous driving.
However, based on the comments section of the news on social media, many expressed their displeasure at the fact that the police are investigating the man for his action. In fact, a majority defended and even lauded the man’s actions, saying that the mat rempits had it coming.
Moreover, many commenters asked the police to investigate the biker gang instead; seemingly oblivious to the fact that PDRM is indeed investigating them too. Of course, the news headline that only focused on the man in sarong being investigated certainly doesn’t help.
We definitely do not condone both the actions of the biker gang as well as the ‘vigilante’ man as regardless of one’s intentions, a civilian does not have the authority to exert such action by himself. Not to mention, his action of intimidating the biker gang may be considered an offence in itself.
As a matter of fact, the man may face imprisonment of up to 7 years or a fine or both for his action. In relation to that, the mat rempits seen in the video also face stern action of up to 5-year jail, RM15,000 fine or both if it’s their first offence.
Join us as we break down the potential actions taken against both parties below:
Based on the video, the man in sarong’s action may be considered criminal intimidation which is an offence in our country. Section 503 of the Penal Code prescribes criminal intimidation as below:
Specifically, the way the man in the viral video wielded the two objects and called out to the mat rempits may be considered as threatening them with an injury. Any person who commits criminal intimidation may be punished under Section 506 of the Penal Code as below:
As you can see from the provision, the punishment differs based on the offence committed, with the base punishment being imprisonment of up to 2 years, or fine or both. However, should the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, the punishment may be imprisonment of up to 7 years, or fine or both.
As for what is considered ‘grievous hurt’ in our legal system, Section 320 of the Penal Code defines it as the following:
Reckless and dangerous driving
As for the mat rempits seen in the viral video, they may face action under the Road Transport Act 1987 or Act 333. Specifically, their actions are subjected to Section 42(1) of the Act for reckless and dangerous driving.
According to the provision, an individual is considered to have committed an offence of reckless and dangerous driving if they drive a motor vehicle on a road recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which having regard to all the circumstances (including the nature, condition and size of the road and the amount of traffic which is or might be expected to be on the road) is dangerous to the public. Upon conviction, the offender faces up to 5-year jail and a fine between RM5,000 to RM15,000.
Moreover, if the offence is the second or subsequent conviction, the punishment is increased to up to 10-year jail and to a fine between RM10,000 to RM20,000. Besides that, any person convicted under this provision shall be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of up to 5 years from the date of conviction.
Furthermore, for the second or subsequent conviction, the disqualification would be a period of 10 years from the date of conviction. Meanwhile, a holder of a probationary driving licence that is convicted under Section 42 of Act 333 shall have their driving licence revoked by the court.
With that being said, Malaysians should take this incident as an example of not taking the law into their own hands but leaving it to the relevant authorities instead. Conversely, the seemingly ubiquitous of unruly mat rempit culture can be attributed to the lack of enforcement or the wrong approach by the relevant authorities and lawmakers.
Moving forward, perhaps stricter laws and alternative approaches should be introduced to further circumvent the public nuisance caused by these illegal street racers. Maybe it is time to take action against workshops that offer illegal modifications to these motorcycles or provide a safer option for them to indulge in their motorsport passion such as opening more racetracks.