PETALING JAYA: He was an illiterate teen when he was convicted of murder in 2005. But prison has taught him lessons, literally.
He graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration yesterday.
Adam (not his real name), 30, has spent more than half his life behind bars after being found guilty of murder at the tender age of 14 in 2001.
For him, education provides hope and redemption.
“I don't know how to put into words the joy I feel right now to be here, with my family, to see them proud of me.
“To share a meal with my parents, my brother, and sisters, is something very special to me,” he said before the convocation ceremony at Universiti Malaya.
He graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Open University Malaysia.
The last time he had seen his family was in 2007.
Adam said he was not stopping at MBA. He intends to pursue his PhD next.
But he admitted that the path had not been easy. He was lost when he was first sent to prison.
“The first few years in prison, I merely existed. Until an officer called Tuan Ajib told me to stop just waking up and sleeping every day and make something of myself.
“That is when I decided to get my education. Little by little, I studied hard and sat for my SPM in 2006 before doing my STPM and degree,” he said.
He said it is a hard life behind bars, and it requires endless sacrifice and determination to keep pushing to improve oneself.
“And I am not stopping here. I want to do my PhD next,” he said.
Adam is being held at the pleasure of the Sultan of Selangor at the Kajang prison. He hopes to start his own business if he is released one day.
“I want to support my mother and my family if I get out and give back to society,” he said.
His success story is one of several that the prisons department is working hard to push through.
He was also joined by another prisoner who also graduated with the same Master’s degree but reporters were not given an opportunity to speak to him.
Kajang prison director Datuk Narander Singh said statistics showed that a prisoner with a better education has a lower chance of being a repeat offender.
“We can't just lock them up and throw away the key. We have to educate them and give them guidance.
“They may be prisoners but they are still part of society,” he said.
He added that currently there were 33 inmates pursuing their higher education in Kajang prison.
Narander said the prisons department would implement some adjustments to Adam’s daily schedule to allow him to pursue his doctorate.
The department's inmate management director Nordin Muhamad said the programme to help inmates get their education was being run in the Kajang, Bentong and Kota Kinabalu prisons.
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