KOTA KINABALU, Feb 10 — Malaysian superbikers are an asset to the country and should help their counterparts riding lower-horsepower motorcycles with road discipline, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
Zahid who is also home minister said that motorcyclists with 500cc horsepower engines, known colloquially as “kapcai”, made up a big percentage of fatal road accidents nationwide.
“I would like to ask superbike riders not to keep to themselves, but to engage these kapcai riders to help increase their awareness as well as discipline on the road,” he said in his speech at the Borneo Solidarity Ride event here.
He praised superbikers and their associations, saying they have a good record of road discipline.
“I would like for the Superbike Association of Malaysia to have branches all over the country and look out for all other motorbike riders. They are an asset to the country,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, Zahid said a total of 521,466 road accidents had been recorded nationwide last year, resulting in over 7,100 deaths.
“More than half of those who died in road accidents were motorcyclists, of the lower capacity engines,” he said, adding that the number was the highest in the last five years.
Zahid also said that road accidents lower the country’s productivity and contributes to the nation’s loss, including in hospital and medical costs.
“To be a developed nation, we need to lower road accidents,” he said.
“Kapcais”, used by low-income earners, are seen as a handy mode of transport in cities where traffic congestions have been worsening.
However, Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor recently proposed a ban on the lower-powered motorcycles in central Kuala Lumpur, but was met by criticism.
He said the government was looking at banning 50cc to 150cc motorcycles from the city centre to cut emission and congestion, and the incidences of snatch thefts.