KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — A suggestion to ban underbone motorcycles from entering Kuala Lumpur must first get public approval as most motorcyclists are low-income earners, the Transport Ministry said today.
Deputy minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi explained that since many “kap chai” motorcyclists are from the B40 group, or the bottom 40 per cent households, their sentiments must be gauged as it will affect their lifestyle economically.
“This must get public feedback first. Many of the ‘kap chai’ users are from the B40 group.
“We don’t want our action to affect their lives as in going to work and commuting in Kuala Lumpur,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor was reported saying yesterday that Putrajaya may prohibit these motorcycles in Kuala Lumpur as part of its effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Tengku Adnan also claimed that the suggestion came up because motorcycles have been used by snatch thieves in the city.
Aziz Kaprawi however said that the public transport system in the city needs to be at ideal conditions first before the ban goes ahead so that people remain mobile.
“The public transport system also needs to be improved so that it can be ideal for all those in the city.
“We are studying this. We want to reduce the amount of private vehicles in the city. But first we must make sure the public transport system is efficient,” he said.
The Seri Gading MP also said that this has been the first time a call to ban “kap chai” has been made, but the ministry was already looking into the issue as there were already previous complaints against cars.
“There has been previous suggestions for cars to be reduced in the city, but this is the first time for ‘kap chai’ bikes,” Aziz Kaprawi said.
Malay Mail Online has contacted the Kuala Lumpur City Hall for its response on the suggestion.
The local slang ‘kap chai’ is believed to have originated as a portmanteau from Honda Cub, one such motorcycle, and the Cantonese word for “little”
‘Kap chai’ bikes usually use small capacity engines between 50 and 150 cc, and are popular with Malaysians, especially the lower-income group due to its considerably cheaper price, and convenience in bustling traffic and rural trails alike.