Everyday routine: Journalists visiting a cell of the Kamunting Protective Detention Centre in Taiping before the last six detainees were released. — Bernama
TAIPING: Two of the last six detainees of the now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) who were freed said their two-year detention had enabled them to better appreciate life and freedom which they had taken for granted.
The three Malaysians, two Indonesian nationals and a Filipino were detained on Nov 14, 2011 for being members of an alleged terrorist group called Sabah Darul Islamiah (DI).
They were released from detention yesterday.
Two of the six detainees told Bernama the detention had provided them with valuable experience and knowledge as well as made them determined to lead a better life upon gaining freedom.
One of the Malaysians, a 38-year-old referred to as Cikgu, said the detention gave him the time to realise who his genuine friends and relatives were.
“I learned to fully utilise the time we have because we do not know how long we will live in this world,” he said in an interview at the Kamunting Detention Centre here on Saturday night.
Most importantly, he said, the detention period gave him an opportunity to learn more about Islam.
Cikgu, who was in Cell 1 of Block B at the centre, said he was treated well and refuted claims by certain quarters that detainees had been subjected to abuse.
“The staff here did their job well in taking care of us. If there are claims of abuse, they are mere lies. I also told my wife the same,” said Cikgu, who used to serve as a cook at the centre.
On his plans, he said he would resume the multi-level marketing business he had to give up upon his detention in 2011.
As for the 28-year-old Filipino detainee referred to as Ustaz, the detention period gave him the opportunity to study Islam as well as learn English and Arabic.
He said he was able to recite the Quran 15 times and memorise 12 of the chapters.
“I am grateful that the staff here, including the teachers, treated us well, allowing us to meet family members. The library also has ample books on religion,” said Ustaz, who has a son.
He hoped to be able to serve the Malaysian Government as an Islamic religious teacher, and also to teach Arabic.
“I also want to be a permanent resident here. I like Malaysia and I want my children to live here, to be citizens of this country,” he said.
What's next for the Kamunting centre?