THE mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked kuih raya and cookies fills the air in the Alor Setar Prison.
Little known to many, some 40 female inmates have been busy preparing such delicacies to get the orders ready for the coming festive celebration.
Alor Setar Prison director Asst Comm Raja Mohd Amazon Raja Daud said 14 types of festive cookies comprising traditional and modern cookies would be sold at reasonable prices.
“The pastry workshop is producing eight types of kuih raya while the frozen food workshop is preparing six types of traditional cookies.
“They are less expensive compared to products sold outside,” he said during a site visit recently.
The inmates are working at the Alor Setar Prison’s frozen food industry and pastries workshop which was opened in 2012.
Among the collection of the prison raya biscuits are ‘Baby Doughnuts’, ‘Almond London’, ‘Kacang Mazola’, ‘Hamper Raya’, ‘Mini Popia Udang’, ‘Muruku’, ‘Kerepek Ketam’, ‘Agar-Agar Kristal’ and ‘Popia Manis’.
The workshop also produces mini cakes for all events such as Cream Cheese Tart, Mini Doughnut Topping, Cream Puff, Blueberry Cheese Tart, Mini Sardine Puff, Fruit Tarlet Pastry Cream, Pandan Layer, Marble Cake, Chocolate Rice Cake, Fruit Cake, Mini Sausage Bun and others.
The products of the frozen food workshop are divided into two categories – frozen and dessert.
Among the frozen products are ‘Mini Murtabak’, ‘karipap’ and ‘Cucur Badak’ while the dessert are Bread Butter Puding, Chocolate Cheese Nutella Tart, Strawberry in cup and Rainbow in cup.
Asst Comm Raja Mohd Amazon said the inmates were well trained and skilled in making kuih raya.
He said the sales for the products had increased every year, thanks to the society’s contribution in buying such products.
“We have recorded very encouraging sales from 2013 to 2018.
“Our clients include those from the hotels in Alor Setar, schools, government agencies and private sectors, cooperatives and associations of the Northern Zone Prison Club.
“The prices of the products are comparatively cheaper and the quality is good.
“We were even awarded the Food Safety Industry Responsibility (MeSTI) certification and Halal Certification.
“The inmates will start a new life when they return to the society soon with all the learned skills.
“Many of them have planned to open pastry or frozen food outlets,” he said.
Prison chief Insp Lee Geik Siew said qualified prison inmates would be registered as apprentices to undergo level 2 of certified skills training under the National Dual Training System (NDTS).
The training is a collaboration between Prison Department Malaysia and Department of Skills Development of Human Resources Ministry.
“Only inmates with Malaysian citizenship are qualified to register as apprentices of NDTS.
“This year, three inmates passed the skills training certification examination,” she said.
Also present were Prison Sjn Azizah Jantan and pastry instructor Fatonah Adam, who is also the assistant officer of vocational training at the prison.