LABUAN: As night begins to give way to dawn, heavily-modified high-performance motorcycles pull up on an empty Labuan village street.
While the island sleeps, their engines fill the air with a heavy smell of petrol. The motorcyclists huddle together to set the route, always at the last possible minute.
One of them spots the red and blue glare of police lights and they scramble to their motorcycles, regrouping a few miles away to continue the race.
This happens almost every Saturday night in the duty-free-island here, with Kampung Lajau the favourite street for illegal racing.
Labuan police chief, Superintendent Muhamad Farid Ahmad told Bernama a special task force is being considered if the ‘Mat Rempit’ issue here gets uncontrollable.
“Every Saturday night, we will pull out all the station chiefs (ketua-ketua balai) to lead personnel for mobile roadblocks, but it seems these illegal racers will be alerting one another once they smell our presence, and they will continue to race after we leave,” he said.
Farid was commenting on villagers’ outcry over what they claimed to be ‘rempit gegarkan Lajau’ on the wee hours Saturday nights.
He said the police would be going deeper in its investigation focusing on encouraging factors of youth’s involvement in the ‘mat rempit’ menace such as drugs or other social ills.
“Every weekend night, we are mobilising our personnel, not only to address the illegal racing menace, but also tackling disturbing trend of drunk drivers,” Farid said.
He said more than 50 tickets were issued to errant motorists in a four-hour ‘Ops Mabuk’ Sunday morning.
Farid urged parents whose children with motorcyclists to refrain them from being involved in illegal racing.
Politicians have long been lobbying for an official race track here which they claim will stop people racing illegally on the streets.