KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The government is considering banning underbone motorcycles, known locally as the "kap chai", from entering Kuala Lumpur as part of its effort to reduce carbon emission.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor was quoted by The Star as saying that the government may prohibit these motorcycles and other commuters from driving into the capital city once public transportation reaches a more reasonable price.
“During the day, the population [in the city] increases to between five and seven million because workers commute to work," he said at the launch of the Kibar Bendera Wilayah Persekutuan campaign yesterday.
“Many cities do not allow ‘kap chai’ to come in. But studies have shown that a lot of people still need them because they are poor and can’t afford [other modes of transport] as their salaries are low.
“Once cheaper public transport is available, we will be looking at the possibility of not allowing ‘kap chai’ motorcycles into the city,” he added.
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.
The minister was also quoted saying that the government had mooted the idea because motorcycles have been used by snatch thieves in the city.
According to the Road Transport Department, over 500,000 Malaysians register their motorcycles every year.
Motorcyclists also make up the highest victims of road accidents and fatalities every year according to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research.