Skuad 42 On The Hunt For Mat Rempits

A ‘mat rempit’ needs no introduction for Malaysian but if you did not already know, is someone who engages in activities such as illegal street racing, bike stunt performance, petty crime, and public disturbance using a motorbike, typically involving 2- and 4-stroke underbone motorcycles known commonly as Kapcai or scooters.

Recently, two motorbike riders were spotted approaching a traffic light that had turned red while speeding. One of the riders performing tricks failed to slow down and stop in time, colliding with a car that was making a U-turn from the opposite direction.

The scourge of motorists for decades has been the speed demons’ tendency for cluttering the roadways, surging past ordinary cars while they lie prone on the seats as part of their now-famous “Superman” stunt.

According to NST, the mat rempit issue in Kuala Lumpur first emerged in the 1990s, when a number of the city’s streets were turned into illegal racing circuits at night, with racer packs taking over the streets and would frequently avoid being arrested by the authorities due to their large numbers.

Due to the issue, the city traffic police created an ad hoc team of traffic cops that were sent out to find and apprehend the racers in the 1990s. This gradually developed into a more organised team, with individuals selected for the squad starting in 2004 based on their aptitude for managing the racers.

After the police’s Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department was created in 2016, Skuad 42 was formally established. The name Skuad 42 may sound foreign to some of us, but this name is actually quite feared by gangs across the country.

The squad, which was first established to combat widespread illegal racing, has since evolved into the traffic police operations intelligence section. The elite team now handles other motorcycle-related offences, such as hit-and-run cases, road bullying, and illegal motorbike licence plates.

It is difficult to identify members of Skuad 42 because they often camouflage as racers and alert the team on the routes the racers would take for subsequent action. The identities of Skuad 42’s members as well as its manpower are unknown to the public due to the need for secrecy.

The name Skuad 42, according to Assistant Commissioner Sarifudin Mohd Salleh, head of the City Traffic Enforcement and Investigation Department, was taken from Section 42 of the Road Transport Act of 1987, which outlines the penalties for reckless and dangerous driving.

According to Sarifudin, during missions, Skuad 42 members also acquired evidence including photos and videos and made reports for the purpose of investigation. Between January and April in Kuala Lumpur, there were 144 arrests made in accordance with Section 42(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987, as opposed to 118 during the same period last year.

This article is inspired by a feature article first published by NST.

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