Cops mull legal action against parents who neglect children involved in bicycle ‘lajak’

Kenneth Tee
DCP Azisman Alias speaks during a press conference in Bukit Aman November 4, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — Police today warned that they are mulling action under the Child Act against parents whose children are caught using modified bicycles (basikal lajak).

Bukit Aman Investigation and Traffic Enforcement (JSPT) director Deputy Commissioner Datuk Azisman Alias said apart from action under existing traffic law, legal action could be used against parents or guardians who failed in their responsibility to ensure those under their watch are not involved in modified bicycle activities.

“Parents are responsible for their children’s safety and action can be taken against them if an act of negligence could be proven.

“Consider this a warning to parents,” he said during a press conference at the federal police headquarters here.

Under Section 33 of the Child Act, it is an offence for parents or guardians to leaving their child without reasonable supervision, punishable with a fine no more than RM20,000 or imprisonment up to five years or both.

Modified bicycles recently attracted attention again following the Magistrates Court’s decision to acquit and discharge a sale promoter who was charged with reckless driving that caused a road accident in which eight teenage cyclists were killed in 2017.

The bicycles — modified extensively through the removal of brakes and frame, to provide increased speed and thrust downhill that allows rider to assume a ‘superman’ pose with improved aerodynamics.

Azisman, however, said no one has been prosecuted for such an offence to date as the police were still in the midst of studying other alternatives.

“There is still the question of proving the said negligence in court supported by strong evidence or statements,” he said.

According to statistics provided today, JSPT launched a total of 13 operations with 116 nabbed nationwide since January this year.

Of the 116 nabbed, all were students and underaged (below-18).

While acknowledging continuous efforts to curb the menace, Azisman also admitted that existing law provisions were insufficient to promote a deterrent effect.

“Many of those nabbed during our operations also included underage children between eight to ten years old.

“However, under the law, we cannot take action against them, with our role limited to only detaining and advising these youngsters accordingly,” he said.

Under Section 82 of the Penal Code, it is stipulated that nothing is an offence which is done by a child under ten years of age.

Thus he said JSPT could only take action in accordance to existing law provisions under the Road Transport Act and the Road Traffic Rules 1959 to confiscate the said modified bicycles.

He also suggested that relevant authorities such as the Road Transport Department or the Transport Ministry to begin drafting a stronger law to discourage such activities.

“Maybe stringent laws against errant shop owners providing modification services to these people is a start as no existing laws could be effectively used against them,” he added.

When asked if a curfew should be imposed, Azisman disagreed as it was not necessary at the moment, with no security reasons to do so.

Citing the seriousness of using modified bicycles, Azisman said it has become a nuisance to others which endangered both cyclists and motorists at the same time.

“Operations will be doubled nationwide and we have also withhold several of our enforcement officers’ leave in anticipation of the coming school holidays,” he said.

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