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Special rural bus service to curtail mat rempit

PUTRAJAYA, 13 May 2009: The Road Safety Department and the Education Ministry have agreed in principle to introduce a special rural school bus service to curtail the use of motorcycles by students.

The department’s director-general, Datuk Suret Singh, said the mechanics of introducing such a service were now being studied and a decision was expected soon.

He told Bernama today that it was necessary to provide alternative transport to these students or they would be forced to use motorcycles to get to school.

He said motorcyclists were posing a big problem as most of them did not possess valid driving licences and tended to misuse their machines for stunts and racing.

Suret added that the department had also taken proactive action in ensuring the curtailment of the “mat rempit” (illegal motorcycling) culture among schoolchildren.

He said the department, with the cooperation of the Education Ministry, had commenced an advocacy programme to educate students, teachers and parents on the dangers of reckless driving and misuse of motorcycles.

A pilot project was launched in five schools in Selangor last month and if found to be viable, would be introduced nationwide, he added.

“The parent-teacher associations, headmasters and teachers have given us an assurance that they would cooperate with us to help reduce the mat rempit menace,” Suret Singh said.

The programme would a soft approach and not strong-arm tactics to achieve its objectives, he said.

On the use of crash helmets, Suret Singh said the department was on target to achieve 100% compliance of using helmets by 2010.

The department was also distributing free helmets to motorcyclists, particularly those in the rural areas.

So far it had distributed 125,000 Sirim-approved helmets, which were contributed by various companies under the Corporate Social Responsibility programme of the road safety council. — Bernama

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