KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — The Youth and Sports Ministry is hoping to get children racing on illegally modified bicycles known as “basikal lajak” off the streets and into its training programme where they could become the next Azizulhasni Awang aka “Pocket Rocketman”.
Its minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the ministry has started a workshop at its facilities with stationary bicycles and is trying to channel the children’s energy positively.
“So one thing that we did is, we have stationary equipment where they cycle. They don’t move that much, but it builds their stamina and speed, and we can train them even to become cyclists for Malaysia in the long run.
“The last thing that we want is, if we just push them aside, they will still do it and in the end they lose their life and safety will be compromised.
“So it’s about channelling their passion and energy to a more productive path,” he told reporters at Parliament today.
The “basikal lajak” children have become a social issue in recent years, often proving a menace to other public road users and endangering their own lives by riding illegally modified bicycles to perform stunts.
Eight teenagers riding “basikal lajak” were killed two years ago when they collided with a motorist on a dark and winding road in Johor Baru at 3am. The driver, Sam Ke Ting, 24, was acquitted of a reckless driving charge last week — shining the spotlight on the issue once more.
Two days ago, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said Cabinet had discussed the basikal lajak phenomenon and interministry efforts would be needed to tackle it.
Terengganu-born Azizulhasni, 31, whose diminutive stature earned him the “pocket rocketman” nickname, is the first Malaysian win a medal at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships and also took the bronze for the individual keirin in the last Olympic Games in 2016.