KUALA LUMPUR – April 4, 2017: Parents, teachers and civil society groups are suggesting that the authorities devise rehabilitation and counselling programmes for teenagers involved in dangerous joyrides on bicycles.
It is their belief that a holistic approach must be taken to educate youths to be responsible for their safety.
This suggestion was made after the arrest of 22 teenagers on modified bicycles in Johor Baru last Sunday. Some were believed to have been involved in the accident that killed eight teenagers on February 18.
The arrests caused a public uproar as many deemed that the joyriders were undaunted by the fatal incident and subsequent warnings by the authorities.
National Parent-Teacher Associations Collaborative Council president Associate Professor Datuk Mohamad Ali Hassan said it is high time for the authorities to rehabilitate these teenagers.
“One thing for sure is that we want these youths to feel responsible for their safety. They must be taught to be responsible, especially when they are in the phase of growing up.
“Perhaps we must call for rehabilitation and counselling sessions and advise them on what to do during their spare time. Make them care for their families and not to ignore their safety,” said Mohamad.
However, he disagrees with the suggestion to penalising these teenagers for negligence.
National Union of the Teaching Profession president Kamarozaman Abd. Razak thinks that local authorities should hold a dialogue with the community to find ways to contain the dangerous activity.
“It is not easy for us to change their hobby. What we can do is to provide the correct outlets for them, like cycling tracks or velodrome.
“We need to bear in mind that most of them are from lower-income households. There’s not much for them to enjoy at home. It is society and authorities that should accommodate the needs of these children,” he said.
Kamarozaman also called for the all neighbourhood crime watchers to assist the police in ensuring teenage cyclists to not bring their hobby to highways and public roads, especially at odd hours.
Johor Women’s League president Woo Sow Peng wants the police to regularly checks on the usual haunts of the teenagers and work closely with parents who she believes are unaware of their children’s activities.
She concurs that the community must share the responsibility in stopping the dangerous trend.