MPs call for prison reforms to prevent virus spread

TWO MPs in Penang will raise the need for prison reforms to prevent Covid-19 spreading like wildfire in overcrowded prison conditions.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin said he and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar want reforms to the current prison system to be seriously looked into in view of the recent Covid-19 outbreaks at several prisons in the country.

He said Nurul Izzah and he plan to raise issues such as overcrowding and outdated prison systems in the next Parliament meeting.

He said Nurul Izzah had been championing prison reform issues for several years now and in 2018, she had proposed to bring a Private Member’s Bill in Dewan Rakyat in an effort to reform the country’s prison system.

“The current system is outdated and has contributed to overcrowding at our prisons.

“I urge the Home Ministry to look into the problems at our prisons as this is not only putting the inmates at high risk of getting infected but also prison officers and their family members.”

Sim was speaking to reporters after presenting supplies such as rice, eggs, instant oats, face masks, sanitiser, face shields and gloves worth RM10,000 to Penang Remand Prison personnel, undergraduates and families affected by the enhanced movement control order there.

“The current prison system focuses on punishment, causing minor offenders to be incarcerated instead of being rehabilitated and leading to overcrowding in cells.”

He also urged people especially in his constituency who are in need of aid during the pandemic to approach his service centre or his service team members for assistance.

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