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Thursday, November 7, 2019

'Basikal lajak' riders need guidance, not punishment: Syed Saddiq



Responding to criticism for his plans to rehabilitate those involved in the Mat Lajak (modified bicycle racers) culture, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has hit out at critics.
"I have been slammed for taking the stand of wanting to guide and not punish (these juvenile racers)" he said in a Facebook post today.
"Instead of insulting them, I chose to train them with Technical Education and Vocational Training (Tvet). Instead of constantly criticising them, I chose to educate them about road safety."
"Instead of constantly taunting them, I choose to enrol them in the National Cycling Development Programme," he said.

This comes after a discussion on modified bicycle racing was brought to the fore after Johor Bahru Magistrate's Court freed Sam Ke Ting, 24, of a charge of reckless driving which caused the death of eight teenage cyclists in 2017.
"Some of us love to punish and fail to guide," said Syed Saddiq adding that the riders needed society's help and were part of the community's collective responsibility.
"I will continue to reach out to this community. I want them to be successful kids. Let us all find a way to lend a helping hand in guiding these youths to success. We owe it to Malaysia!" he said in his post.
Earlier in Parliament, when asked about building specific circuits for these riders, Syed Saddiq told reporters that his ministry had already run many different cycling workshops for basikal lajak groups.
"If you just build a circuit without getting the actual expertise to train them, it becomes an issue because if you look at how they modified their bikes,a lot of them are unsafe because there are no brakes.
"And usually (they) don't wear any safety equipment," he said, adding circuits were are often built downhill and were very long.
"So one thing that we did is to have stationary equipment on which they cycle, they don't move that much but it builds their stamina and speed, and (hopefully) we can train them even to become sports cyclists for Malaysia in the long run," he said.
"At the same time, we are getting opinions from different groups and communities to see what else we can do to ensure that we get their passion channelled in the right way."
The last thing that we want is push them aside as they will still do it and in the end, they lose their lives," he said while citing an outreach programme he attended recently in Gombak.
On a different matter, the minister said that the e-sports blueprint was set to be tabled soon.
"It will be tabled this month. The tabling of the e-sport blueprint involves a very comprehensive process of collecting feedback, then another town hall to discuss about the distribution of the RM20 million fund.
He said that previously, it was difficult to plan without being aware of the size of the budget which was only unveiled last month.
"Now we've already got certainty about how much we have, so we can start discussing the distribution of the funds," he said. - Mkini

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