Behind bars but not forgotten

KAJANG: Prison Inmate Iman, 23, got to spend Hari Raya Aidilfitri with his parents and siblings for the first time after he was put behind bars in 2016 for dealing in drugs.

Iman, who left his home in Pahang after finishing school to work as a trader in Kuala Lumpur, regretted mixing with the wrong crowd which led to him using and selling drugs.

“At that age, I didn’t think things through. I just wanted to enjoy myself. Eventually, I was caught with 238g of marijuana.

“As soon as I got caught I immediately regretted the path that I had taken,” said Iman, the eldest among six children.

Iman said that he learnt a lot in prison after he participated in many programmes and, most of all, he learnt how to be disciplined.

“I believe in myself that after this (prison sentence) I will do my best for my family,” said Iman, who will be released from prison in 10 months.

Iman was among 42 inmates selected to attend a yearly Jalinan Kasih Hari Raya Aidilfitri programme with their families at Kajang Prison yesterday.

Iman’s parents Husin, 50, and Aminah, 45, were grateful to be given a chance to spend Hari Raya with their son, whom they could usually only communicate via a telephone.

“When he was living at home, he never created any trouble. But then, (in KL) he got caught once and it got to this. We were shocked.

“But my son will get out soon. After that, my hope is that he will stay at home and I will look after him,” said Husin, who is a trader at a wholesale market.

Reunited: Iman (centre) with his parents and siblings during the Jalinan Kasih Hari Raya Aidilfitri programme at Kajang Prison.

Another inmate Munir, 34, has been in prison for the past six years but considers himself somewhat fortunate to have his family stand by him all this while, especially his former father-in-law, Amri.

Amri, a 56-year-old kidney patient, even skipped his dialysis session yesterday to see Munir, whom he considers as his own son.

“Although he has now separated from my daughter, I still love him like he is my own son,” said a tearful Amri, a pensioner from Pahang.

Munir, who divorced Amri’s daughter last year, has two more years to serve in prison after being charged with statutory rape.

Every Tuesday evening after his dialysis session, Amri said he would faithfully wait for a phone call from Munir, and would always advise him to be on good behaviour.

Munir, who has a nine-year-old son, hopes to take care of Amri once he is released from prison.

“My father-in-law made me strong in facing my sentence. I pray that when I get out, I can take care of him,” said Munir, who was once self-employed.

Kajang Prison director Abdul Halim Ma Hasan said the Jalinan Kasih programme, which is also held on Christmas, Deepavali and the Chinese New Year, is a good opportunity for inmates to have physical contact with their family members.

“This is because during normal visits, inmates are separated from their families by a glass pane and can only speak via intercom or calls through ‘wartel’ (inmate phone),” he said.

“They had not seen their families for years. There is even one inmate who hasn’t seen his family for 11 years. That’s why many of them burst into tears when they meet their families.”

Out of about 3,500 Muslim inmates at the Kajang Prison, only 42 were selected for the programme this year after considering their length of sentence served, discipline and commitment in the prison’s activities.

(The real names of inmates and their families have been changed.)

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