KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor announced today the government will hold legal street races to counter the growing number of illegal motorcycle racing problem that has sprung up.
He said a large number of Malaysians turned to unsanctioned racing because it offered economical thrills.
He reiterated that Putrajaya was not promoting illegal racing but was trying to curb it by encouraging alternative methods like organised racing.
"I don't want to call them Mat Rempit but Mat Moto. We will control the situation because we realise that this is an entertainment for them. They have no other way to entertain themselves because of the high costs," he told reporters after launching an event in Batu Caves here.
Tengku Adnan said the government was considering closing city roads in the national capital once a week and setting that aside for motorcycle 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.
"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 give them a place where we can control with safety barriers and all," he explained.
Tengku Adnan also said that the government has previously organised races in enclosed tracks like the one in Batu 3, Shah Alam but added that the public response was not favourable, which was why many returned to racing illegally in the streets.
The Umno secretary-general also said he would liaise with people within his own party and the Barisan Nasional coalition to come up with a programme to address the illegal street racing problem.
"We will provide a suitable place and probably we will organise fiesta, we call food trucks selling food and other things to help them so that they will not have illegal racing.
"It's not encouraging, but you see, we want to see what the people like as mentioned by Najib, 'Tanya Nadi Rakyat'," he said.
The Malay phrase translates to the “pulse of the people” concept mooted previously by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.