Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mat Rempits - a menace to society or misunderstood youth

Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno Youth chief and MP for Rembau
I wanted to start this episode with a short clip on Mat Rempits. Previous episodes have all been studio recordings but I wanted to try something different. Give the show a little bit of flavour. How difficult could producing a 2-minute clip be, I thought? I turned first to Haniza, a reporter who had previously worked on Edisi Siasat. She said wouldn't recommend it. "Too ganas now" she said. Her personal experience with Rempits wasn't a good one. Even though the cameraman was filming from a distance,the Rempits caught on and came for them. She and the cameraman jumped into their car and hightailed it, with the Rempits giving chase. Good thing the company cars aren't little 1.3cc hatchbacks. 

I tried another colleague, a studio director, who knows some Rempits personally. But no go. Too risky, he said. He wouldn't introduce us to them because he wouldn't be able to guarantee our safety.  

I asked the Siasat Mandarin reporters. They said they had also been planning to come up with an episode on Mat Rempits but have put it on hold for the time being, as it's too dangerous to film them. Guess I'll just stick to the studio for this episode. 

As for guests - who better to talk about Mat Rempits than Khairy Jamaluddin? And on the other side, the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation. I also wanted to get the police on board but sadly, the IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan was busy. He said to try the head of traffic police chief, who unfortunately, also declined on account of his busy schedule. 

Anyway, what do you think of Mat Rempits? I personally think they're a menace. But in our street interviews, we found some people who thought of them as just youths wanting to do a bit of racing and lacking a proper avenue for that. One lady even described them as "stylo"! Maybe that's how rempit-ing started out but things have taken a turn for the worse and more and more people are associating them with crime. 

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