The Bedding of the Mat Endangers the Safety of the Public on the Road

Table of Content

Introduction “Mat Rempits Crashes Into Policemen”, “Student Attacked by Mat Rempits After the Crash” , “Fear and Loathing of Mat Rempit” (Appendix A) and “Mat Rempit Jailed 2 Years and Fines”, from all the headlines that I mention a moment ago, we can tell that mat rempits is threatening the public’s safety on the road. Mat rempits is a Malaysian term for an individual who participates in illegal street racing. However, there is also some mat rempits who do not involved in illegal racing. They just performed crazy stunts for fun.

Usually on weekend night, you can notice mat rempits travel in groups and raced in bustling city centers. Mat rempits have been linked to gangsterism, gang robbery, street fighting, assault, vandalism, theft and bullying. The motorcycles that they usually used do not meet the specifications, have been modified or install with noisier exhaust. Moreover, some of the mat rempits do not have valid motorcycle licenses, do not pay their road taxes and ride stolen motorcycles. The main objective of this assignment is that we can understand more about the Agenda Setting Theory.

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Besides that, we can also learn how to apply the theory in everyday scenario or in a case study. Introduction of Agenda Setting Theory The agenda setting theory was introduced in 1972 by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in their ground breaking study of the role of the media in 1968 presidential campaign in Chapel Hill, North Carolina ( Dearing & Rogers, 1996, p. 8 ). This theory assumes that media may not be able to tell the public what to think, but that media are effective at telling the public what to think about ( Wilcox et al. , 2005, p. 212 ).

It also defined as the process whereby the mass media determine what we think about ( Spring, 2002 ). In the process of agenda setting theory, “the media affects the public agenda, and the public agenda affects the policy agenda”( Figure 1 ). The media agenda and the policy agenda is correlated between each other. This means that these two agenda have the direct impact on each other. This process is used in remodelling and simplifying all the events which occurred in our society ( Spring, 2002 ). Within this process, media takes control of the information which we listen and read.

The information goes through a process call gatekeeping before it gets to the public through the mass media. In gatekeeping, the information need to goes through a series of checkpoints and this involved gatekeepers like the editor, the reporters and the writers. These gatekeepers filter the news and shape it, then the media will concentrate on a few issues and subjects which the public can perceive those issues as more essential than other issues. The newsworthy of news is the most important aspect when the gatekeepers are making decision in how much prominence and space to give them.

After gatekeeping, here comes the media agenda. Media agenda sets where the issues are being discussed in the media like the print media, such as magazine and newspapers, and the broadcast media such as the radio and the television. The mass media has a large influence on the audiences and this is so called as media influence. The mass media effectively affect how their audiences think and behave. The media agenda is the issues directed by the media while the public agenda is the stage where the public is considering the issues are essential. Media agenda sets the public agenda.

The issues discussed in the media have a large impact over the public as it is able to mentally order and organized our world for us ( Spring, 2002 ). Therefore, the public starts to concern and discuss about the issue which had been direct by the media. This is so called as public agenda. Ultimately, the public agenda bring impact to the policy agenda. In policy agenda, the decision makers or the authorities are the one who considered the issues as important. The distinctive aspect of this scholarly tradition is its concern with policy actions regarding an issue, in part as response to the media agenda and public agenda.

In this stage, the media reveals what is taking place in the government, and also influences the government in what ought to be done ( What is the public agenda, n. d. ). The agenda setting theory has a lot of beneficial uses in our society. It is used for many purposes such as to establish the media agenda and to retrieve the opinion of the public. Besides that, this theory is also essential from a political aspect. For example, this theory is being used widely in political advertising, legal systems, political campaign and debate.

Apart from that, it is also important in the business news, corporate reputations, public opinion and public relations. Its media influence on the audiences is effective in creating awareness on general issues in a society. Agenda setting theory’s biggest attribution towards a society is that all the events that happened around our environment had been filtered, simplified and reshaped into a simpler way before those news get to the public. And these information can be more easily retrieved from memory which dominates judgments, opinions and decisions of the audiences.

Factors which may affect this theory is those may be the gatekeepers, news value, organization norms and external factors. The personalities, intention, attitude and behavior of a gatekeeper are bringing a large impact on the decision making in the flow of news. Apart from that, the external factors might be the government officials, the media ownership, non-media resources and the government policies. Application of Agenda Setting Theory ( Case Study : Mat Rempits ) The agenda setting process begins with the involvement of gatekeepers.

The role of gatekeepers act as a series of checkpoints that the news has to go through before it gets to the public. Examples of gatekeepers are editors, reporters, journalists, media owners, government, etc. Gatekeepers only choose important and newsworthy news to be published because there are so many news reported daily and mass media could not published all. Hence, gatekeepers only select certain news that gives impact to the society. The factors that affect the gatekeeping process are news values, characteristic of the gatekeepers and the organization norms or politics. Mat rempits is a ery good example of remarkable news. They will collect as much news as possible for this particular issue to be published on the mass media. After that, they will simplified and reshape it so the public can be more understand about mat rempits issue. When the mass media starts to publish the news, here is when the media agenda starts. There are three types of media that are being used to publish the news about the mat rempits. They are the print media, the electronic media and the broadcast media. While with this issue, the media that used the most is the print media, such as newspapers and magazines.

There is a period of time that we often exposed to the repetition of news about the mat rempits through the newspapers like The Star, The Sun, New Strait Times, etc. For example, on 19 of May 2009, there is a news reporting about mat rempits, with headlines “From Mat Rempit to Thugs-On-Wheels ( TOWs )”(Appendix B). On the next day, there was another news about mat rempits, with headlines “Calling Them Road Thugs, Jail Term Not Deterrent Enough : Nik Aziz”. Besides the print media, the broadcast media and the electronic media are used in this issue too.

The examples of the broadcasting and the electronic media that exists in this issue is consequently the television programmmes like Edisi Siasat on NTV7, the Malay Mail Online and also forum such as Malaysia Kini at TV3. Due to the exposing of the news about the mat rempits in that specific period, we are getting to know more and more about mat rempits and their activities. Therefore, public tend to be more aware about this issue and started to discuss about it. When the public starts to discuss on the issue, here is where the public awareness grows with extensive media coverage.

The issue is put on the public agenda through the mass media and there are more people getting aware of it. Opinion leaders also begin to discuss the issue and perhaps see it as symbolic of broader environmental issues. One of the opinion leaders in this issue is the head of Gerakan Central Bureau on Environment, Safety and Quality of Life, Dr Cheah Soon Hai. In a press statement, Dr Cheah says that the government should act fast to amend the laws to impose a harsher punishment to overcome the phenomenon of the mat rempits as it had become more serious ( Ramendran, C. , 2009 ).

Apart from that, the public continue to discuss about the issue and concerned about their own safety. They started to report to the police station and others authorities such as Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalanraya ( JPJ ), etc. Hence, it shows the public agenda is influence by the media agenda. After all these chaos, the government finally takes concerned about this issue. Public consensus begins to build for a resolution as government or regulatory involvement occurs ( Wilcox et al. , 2005, p. 212 ). Demand grows for government to act. Here is where the policy agenda stages occurs.

The government comes out with a lot of resolutions. One of it is new rules and regulation is being implemented, such as a higher jail terms and fines, social works and many more. The example of headlines are “20 Months Jail and Fines for Mat Rempit”, “Heavier Penalty Mulled for Snatch Theives, Mat Rempit”, “Mat Rempit Jailed 2 Years and Fines” (Appendix C) and “Government Planning Stiffer Penalties to Stop Mat Rempit Menace”. Apart from that, there are many campaign held by the government to give public awareness to the society, such as Anti-Rempit Campaign.

In addition to that, PDRM sets more road blocks during weekend and allocate more police to patrol around the cities and housing estate. Other than that, a new program called Ops Sikap is also implemented to deal with mat rempits issue (“150 Mat Rempit Caught On First Day of Ops Sikap”, 2007) (Appendix D). Moreover, the Ministry of Education also forced all the primary and secondary school to reform the Road Safety Club (“Revive Road Safety Club, School Urged”, 2009). All this decision is made to protect the citizens and also to compromise with advocates of development.

Thus, it explained that the policy agenda is affected by the public agenda. After the government take action and amended new rules and regulation, once again the mass media published it to acknowledge the public. The public now are protected with the new policy that the government have made and this new policy is made to curb with this mat rempit issue. With this action, the government hopes that the mat rempits will stop their activities and act as a warning to them. Thus, the policy agenda also affects the media agenda and media agenda and policy agenda is correlated.

This means anything that the media agenda does affect the policy agenda and vice versa. Both of these media agenda and public agenda have direct impact toward each other. According to Dearing and Rogers ( 1996, p. 5 ), real world indicators of the importance of an agenda issue or event. This means that the agenda setting process is a continuous process that does not end. It is a cycle. This proves that the news is newsworthy that the mass media continues to publish it and the public continues to discuss about it. The publics act as an indicator to mass media about the importance of the mat rempits issue.

If the readership of the issue decreases, then the publish rate on the mass media should also decrease and at last stop publishing about the issue. Thus, the public sets a standard for the mass media what to publish inside their space time. Besides that, personal experience and interpersonal communication among elites and other individuals are being revised. ( Dearing & Rogers, 1996, p. 5 ) This explain that during the agenda setting process, there are involvement of opinion leaders and these opinion leaders act as a ‘loud speaker’. Opinion leaders can be individual or an organization, such as non-government organization.

Example of opinion leaders inside this issue are operation manager of Young Men’s Christian Association, Kuala Lumpur Jimmy Ho says there are other long-term plans that should be engaged by youths rather than riding bikes. He added, “What is the idea and the purpose of the whole thing? Is it doing any good for the youths and the community? ” (Azreen Hani, 2010). Other than that, at Lim Kit Siang for Malaysia blog, Azly Rahman, 2007 writen a blog entitle “Stop Glorifying Mat Rempits”. They disseminate the message to mass audiences so that more people is aware about mat rempits issue.

The purpose of doing it is that they can join forces with other non-government organization that have same interest to urged the government to take actions. Apart from that, publics can be more aware of mat rempits and take precaution to prevent their self from being a victim of mat rempits. Thus, opinion leaders play an important role in Agenda Setting process. Strengths and weaknesses of the theory Agenda setting theory has its strengths and weaknesses. The most obvious strength of this theory is that it has a very strong explanatory power (Brooks, Brian et. al. , 2003, p. 27).

This is because it can explain the phenomenon which most of the public concern on the same issues. This might be due to this theory had already simplified and filtered what issues should be put in the media and reach to the audiences. Furthermore, the strength of this theory also included its predictive power. Agenda setting theory predicts that if people are having the same exposure to the issues, they feel that the issues are really essential to them. Agenda setting theory also said to be thrifty. The issues that had been gone through the process of gatekeeping are issues which are easy to understand and not complex.

The audiences tend to understand the information is due to the segmentation of the related issues which shaped on a particular way ( Strength and weakness of agenda setting, uses and gratification theory, n. d. ). This theory also has the strength that it has the organizing power. In this theory, the organizing power helps to organize the existing knowledge of media effects. On the other hand, weaknesses are also found in this theory. First of all, this theory can be proven false if the audiences are not as ideal as the theory assumes it to be ( McCombs & Shaw, 1972, pp. 176 ).

This is because if the audiences do not expose to the same media and the information does not reach to the audiences. People might not be well-informed and as the result, although the issues might be important to the public, if they do not expose to it, it is still considered that it is not such critical to them. In another word, the people may pay only casual and irregular attention to the issues and they remain ignore to those information. The second weakness found in this theory is that the effect of this theory towards the audiences might be weakened if the audiences have already made up their mind.

As a result, the audiences may alter the awareness, the priorities and also the importance to the problems or issues. Also, the audience may become bias in expressing their opinions on subjects of other information they come contact with (Agenda-setting theory: the accessibility bias, n. d. ). Conclusion & Recommendation In this scenario of the mat rempits which applied in the theory of Agenda Setting, the mass media played an important role to tell people not what to think of, but what to think about.

Simultaneously media in democratic societies have the independence to report on any topic they choose. Although there are extensive media coverage of the mat rempit issue, the public still not conscious about the seriousness of the issue for so many years. It only alerted when a dramatic incident occurs and the issue move to the top of the public agenda. In this situation, the mass media help us “set” public agenda or media agenda affects the public agenda, the public are became extensive to discuss about the news and the public awareness is increased.

The problems that caused by mat rempits are definitely debated among the public. In this condition, public will raise up their opinion and Opinion Leader will involve. When the voice of the public becomes powerful, it can be said that the policy agenda is affected by the public agenda. Government need to find the best resolution to console the public and overcome the problem of mat rempits, otherwise, the confident of the public towards the government will decrease. Based on the first weaknesses that public is not well informing on the issues of Mat Rempit.

This is because wrong media are being using by the authorities, thus the message cannot reach to larger audience. Therefore, public may not concern and realized about it although the issues play an important role in their daily lives. Thus, selecting the correct media is important to disseminate latest news or issue to the public for example by using internet, newspaper, television, etc. On the other hand, opinion leader is needed to influence public awareness on certain issues. Current news is always updated on media coverage.

Therefore, public are well informed in a certain issue and alter their previous perception thus public will continue concentrate on the same issue while not shift to another issues. In addition to that, opinion leader have the power to influence the society and shape the public perception. Furthermore, if the public have low education, suspect the truthful on the issues and do not know what they should trust about, opinion leader should play an important role to guide them what they should think about but not what to think of. Opinion leader have the potential to let people trust on them.

As a conclusion, selecting the correct media to publish the news and publishing it in certain times are important to create awareness in the society. As a result, the news can bring impact to the society and become the topic of the society. In this group assignment, we gain a lot of knowledge, such as a lot more information about the Agenda Setting Theory and gain extra knowledge to use in our daily lives. APPENDIX A APPENDIX B APPENDIX C APPENDIX D References Agenda-setting Theory: The Accessibility Bias (n. d. ). Retrieved July 18, 2010 , from http://www. museumstuff. om/learn/topics/Agendasetting_theory::sub::The_Accessibility_Bias Azree Hani (2010, March 26). “Don’t encourage Mat Rempit activities” , says NGOs. The Malay Mail. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://www. mmail. com. my/taxonomy/term/85 Charles Ramendran (2009, May 19). From Mat Rempit to Thugs-On-Wheels (TOWs). The Sun Daily. Retrieved June 30 , 2010, from http://www. thesundaily. com/article. cfm? id=33648 Chooi, C. (2007, February 12). 150 ‘mat rempits’ march 2km after being held. The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://thestar. com. my/news/story. asp? ile=/2007/2/12/nation/20070212145511&sec=nation Dearing, James W. , & Rogers, Everett M. (1992). Communication Concepts 6 : Agenda Setting. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Farik Zolkepli (2009, May 10). Heavier penalty mulled for snatch thieves, mat rempit. The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://thestar. com. my/news/story. asp? file=/2009/5/10/nation/20090510161526&sec=nation Government planning stiffer penalties to stop Mat Rempit menace. (2006, October 16). The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://anti-rempit. blogspot. com/2006/10/government-planning-stiffer-penalties. tml Hah, F. L. (2007, October 20). Mat Rempit rams JPJ officer at roadblock. The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://thestar. com. my/news/story. asp? file=/2007/10/20/nation/20071020180913&sec=nation Lourdes Charles (2009, April 26). Cops and JPJ in joint effort to take bikes away from Mat Rempit. The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://thestar. com. my/news/story. asp? sec=nation&file=/2009/4/26/nation/3776153 Mat Rempit Crashed into policemen. (2009,March 3). New Straits Time . Retrieved 30 July, 2010, from http://www. nst. com. y/nst/articles/MatRempitcrashesintopolicemen/Article/ Mat Rempit ram into cops at roadblock. (2008,February 10). The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://thestar. com. my/news/story. asp? file=/2008/2/10/nation/20288129& sec=nation Marirajan, R. (2006, October 17). IGP : Stoning of police station by Mat Rempit outrageous. The Sun Daily. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://www. thesundaily. com/article. cfm? id=33648 McCombs,M. E. & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The Agenda –Setting : Function of Mass Media . Public Opinion Quarterly (Vol. 36). North Carolina .

Minister wants illegal racers’ parents hauled to court. (2005,January 22). News Straits Times. Retrieved July 26, 2010 ,from http://findarticles. com/p/news-articles/new-straits-times/mi_8016/is_20050122/minister-illegal-racers-parents-hauled/ai_n44282150 Nor Akmal (2007, September 13). Student attacked by Mat Rempit after crash. The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://thestar. com. my/news/story. asp? file=/2007/9/13/nation/18868961&sec=nation Operasi anti Mat Rempit selepas polis diserang. (October 17, 2006). Retrieved July 22, 2010, from http://mstar. com. my/berita/cerita. sp? file=/2006/10/17/TERKINI/Mutakhir/Operasi_anti_Mat_Rempit_selepas_polis_diserang&sec=mstar_berita Putera Umno out to change people’s perception of ‘mat rempit’. (2006, August 14). The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://www. thenutgraph. com/umno-and-the-mat-rempit/ Remaja Perkasa Negara aims to tame Mat Rempit. (2010, February 6). The Malay Mail. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://www. mmail. com. my/content/26906-remaja-perkasa-negara-aims-tame-mat-rempit Sarban Singh (2010, January 31). Mat Rempit jailed two years and fined. The Star. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from

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