Mat Rempit

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Police stopping hundreds of motorcyclists at the Kerinchi Link in Kuala Lumpur recently in an effort to curb the Mat Rempit menace

A Mat Rempit is a Malaysian term for "an individual who participates in immoral activities and public disturbance with a motorcycle as their main transport", usually involving underbone motorcycles,[1] colloquially known as Kapcai, or scooters. Mat Rempits are not involved in street racing but rather go against each other for cheap thrills and to rebel against authorities while some of them perform stunts for fun, such as the wheelie, superman (lying flat on the seat), wikang, and scorpion (standing on the seat with one leg during a wheelie).

Etymology[edit]

The word "Rempit" comes from "ram(rev)-it" (ram the throttle). According to Kamus Dewan, the definition of "Rempit" is "the act of whipping with a cane".[2] An alternative source of the word is derived from the noise made by a 2-stroke motorcycle. "Mat" is a Malay slang term used to address or to refer to a male person who is usually of Malay descent but is generally used derogatorily.

Organization and traits[edit]

A group of Mat Rempit roaming a street in Kuala Lumpur street on a Saturday night
A larger group of Mat Rempit somewhere in Terengganu

Mat Rempits usually travel in groups and create disturbance in bustling city centres on weekend nights. Mat Rempits are usually associated with gangsterism, gang robbery,[3][4] street fighting, assault,[5] vandalism, theft and bullying. Most motorcycles used by the Mat Rempits do not meet standard specifications, or have been modified extensively for greater speed, or just to make the exhaust noisier.

Additionally, most Mat Rempits do not have valid motorcycle licenses, do not pay road taxes, and ride stolen motorcycles.[6][7] A growing number of housing estates have also been turned into racing tracks.[8] It is estimated that there are about 200,000 Mat Rempits in Malaysia.[9]

Violence[edit]

Mat rempit overtaking two cars
Mat rempit doing a wheelie with his bohsia

In April 2009, Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said that the Mat Rempit had become violent and brazen instead of just being a public nuisance. He said "We have to come down hard on the Mat Rempit who have started to become involved in robberies, snatch thefts and are even attacking innocent road users and we also need to use harsh tactics to catch the Mat Rempit that try to runaway from the roadblocks ." He also added that "Parents must be more responsible and should not allow their underage children to drive cars or ride motorcycles"

Mat Rempits often end up being hospitalised after they fail to perform their actions or stunts such as 'superman', 'spider' and many more. Every weekend, around 10 people are hospitalised after being involved in accidents when riding motorcycles at high speed.

According to Selangor police chief Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah, it was the parents who are the ones who should be blamed on this and while Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief, Datuk Amar Singh said that it was due to lack of parents' attention, Amar also pointed out that especially when they are in a big group, they would act beyond the limit by attacking the authorities and challenging traffic laws indiscriminately, further pointed out that their peers will challenge them to do something outrageous like assaulting police officers and challenging road rules, just to prove that they're not cowards." [10]

Political reaction[edit]

The widespread phenomenon of the subculture has driven some politicians in Malaysia to voice out concern and need to help rehabilitate the people involved in activities pertaining to that culture. Khairy Jamaluddin and Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim from Putera ". Khairypits" should become the "Eyes and Ears" of Malaysian[clarification needed]

In 2006, a Member of Parliament representing Jenderak, Pahang suggested that the Mat Rempit should be accepted and guided to save them from indulging in dangerous activities.[11]

In 2008, newspaper Kosmo! reported that the Mat Rempit in the state of Kelantan would be allowed to show off their skills at a special track to be built by the state government in Tanah Merah.[12] The then-Menteri Besar, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said amidst the criticism that the track was not a waste of money, stating:

A similar approach had been taken note of by neighbourly state Kedah, where its state government is looking into the possibility of building such an infrastructure, to "overcome the menace", saying another option was to create more job opportunities for them as most of them were jobless.[13] The state's Chief Minister Azizan Abdul Razak said:

Notable massive operations[edit]

On 3 May 2009, the Bukit Aman Traffic Division of the Royal Malaysian Police, together with the Road Transport Department, have launched a major integrated operation to crack down on both car and Mat Rempit motorcycle illegal racing. More than 115 motorcycles were impounded in the major operation which was held simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan.[14]

In the media[edit]

The subculture surrounding the Mat Rempit has been the focus of numerous films and songs in Malaysia. Film depictions of the subculture began in 1984 with Gila-Gila Remaja,[15] Ali Setan (1985),[16] Litar Kasih (1996),[17] KL Menjerit (2002)[18] and its prequel KL Menjerit 1 (2005),[19] REMP-IT (2006), Bohsia: Jangan Pilih Jalan Hitam (2009), Adnan Sempit and V3 Samseng Jalanan (both in 2010).

Songs aiming Mat Rempits[edit]

  • Kazar – Memburu Impian (from Gila-Gila Remaja)
  • Spider – Salut (From Bintang 12)
  • Namewee – Kawanku
  • Yazer featuring Doul – Rempit
  • Ustaz Akhil Hayy Rawa – Relaku Rempit (parodying Spider's song called Relaku Pujuk)
  • JJ and Rudy (The Morning Crew) from hitz.fm – Not So Furious (parodying Teriyaki Boyz's called Tokyo Drift)
  • Fairuz Hafeez – Kisah Mat Rempit / Mat Rempit Jatuh Tergolek

Deejays JJ and Rudy (The Morning Crew) from hitz.fm radio station have made a parody of Teriyaki Boyz's called We're Not So Furious, designed to mock Mat Rempit culture.

Mat Rempit was also the main influence for the song "Salut" by the Malaysian band, Spider, in their album Bintang 12

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Young, fast, and safe", The Sun, Malaysia, 6 May 2014 
  2. ^ Rujukan Kamus Terbitan DBP[dead link]. (Malay) Retrieved on 28 January 2010
  3. ^ Motorcycle gang robs vendor of RM70[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Tan, David (19 January 2007). "Mat Rempit gang menace Rep: Three robberies brought to my attention". The Star. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Alang Bendahara (10 November 2008). "Chaos after m-cyclist dies in crash". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 13 November 2008. 
  6. ^ Mat Rempit[dead link] The Star Online Motoring Blog
  7. ^ Membendung lumba haram Harian Metro Archived 10 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Tunku Shahariah (2 January 2007). "Residents fed up with Mat Rempit ruckus go after them". The Star. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  9. ^ Rempit – Budaya Menunjuk-nunjuk – Kosmo! (in Malay) (4 January 2007)
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ kennysia.com: Adopt-A-Rempit
  12. ^ "Kelantan to build track for Mat Rempit". The Star. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Archives | The Star Online[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "115 motor kena angkut (Malay)", Harian Metro, 4 May 2009 
  15. ^ "Gila-Gila Remaja - Filem Malaysia". www.filemkita.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  16. ^ "Filem - Ali Setan (1985)". www.filemkita.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  17. ^ "Litar Kasih - Filem Malaysia". www.filemkita.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  18. ^ "KL Menjerit - Filem Malaysia". www.filemkita.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  19. ^ "Filem - KL Menjerit 1 (2005)". www.filemkita.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 

External links[edit]