Sunday, September 19

A local racing track – to build or not to build


SIBU: Building a racing track in Sarawak may not be feasible as it is costly, said Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah who also doubts it will curb ‘Mat Rempit’ activities.

He was asked to respond to the proposal by Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman on an auto racing track to enable youths in Sarawak to have a proper platform to conduct race activities.

When debating the State Budget 2017, Fazzrudin had proposed that the state government could first identify a piece of land to accommodate the proposed track of at least 800m long and 50m wide, saying that it would not be a heavy investment while raising the enthusiasm for auto racing among the youths.

“Building and maintaining a racing track is very expensive. Even the Malaysian Formula 1 Race in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Formula 1 night race is being scrapped because of the heavy cost of organising and maintaining this track and races,” said Abdul Karim.

He added: “I am unsure whether it is a good idea to have racing tracks in Sarawak. Personally I am quite sceptical as probably we are only looking at local motor enthusiasts. If we think of having an international racing track in Sarawak, logistically it might not be viable. Our population is also small.

“However, if the races that we are looking at are Kart racing or small bike racing, I don’t think we need to invest in a permanent track what is very costly to build and maintain. How many races do we conduct in a year at this track? Two or three the most. The rest of the year would be for enthusiasts to do their spin.”

The Asajaya assemblyman was also unsure building a proper track would solve the “Mat Rempit” activities.

“Even in KL, where tracks are open to public during weekend for a fee, this rempit menace is still flourishing. According to Abdul Karim, ‘Rempit’ is a fad, where they loved the thrill of doing it on public roads.

“Safety apparels which are a must when one race on proper tracks do not interest them. They got the thrill of swerving between cars.

“However, this fad will slowly fade away once they got married and have a family,” he pointed out.

“Well…some might not agree with me on this matter…but being a biker and motor enthusiast once, and having the opportunity to know many motor enthusiasts, I believe I am not wrong,” he added.