'Mounties' for prisons proposed


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 06 Feb 2003

By ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN

KAJANG: The Home Ministry is proposing the introduction ofa mounted unit for Prisons Department officers, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin said yesterday. 

He said the mounted unit, such as the ones used by City Hall and the police, would help prison guards monitor areas surrounding prisons which were inaccessible by motor vehicles.  

He declined to say the number of “mounties” required or the cost involved. 

He added that it would be up to the Government to decide whether to accept the idea. 

Zainal said his ministry would also propose that Malaysia be made the centre for the Asia-Pacific academy for prison officers. 

“These proposal are part of plans that will be brought up to the Government for study to ensure we have an efficient prison system with better facilities and equipment. 

“A working paper on the proposals will be made soon,” Zainal told reporters after attending a meeting of Prisons Department heads at their headquarters here. 

Department director-general Datuk Mustafa Osman and other senior officials attended the meeting. 

Zainal also said the implementation of a parole system needed further study and fine-tuning. 

He said the after-care or parole systems practiced overseas were unique to each country.  

Among Asian countries, only Thailand has a parole system. 

Zainal said (the other) Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung had visited Australia to study its parole system while other officials had been sent to Europe. 

“We are ready to implement the system by this year and we are waiting for Government approval,” he added. 

On over-crowding, Zainal said the new Kuching prison when completed could house 5,000 inmates. 

He also asked the department to check on why there were some recurrent cases of released inmates who ended up back in prison. 

“We want to know whether they committed the same offences again or if they liked to stay in prison because of the facilities,” he added. 

Earlier, Zainal handed over various vehicles costing a total of RM2.1mil to the department. 

These included a trash compactor, vans (four), scramblers (four) and motorcycles (four). 

Mustafa said the scramblers would be used at prisons in hilly areas such as in Taiping, Jelebu and here. 

He added that the department also planned to purchase several buses to transport school-going children of staff.  

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