Panel to determine who gets house arrest

Courtesy visit: Saifuddin (crouching) speaking with an elderly resident at Rumah Seri Kenangan in Ulu Kinta, near Ipoh.

IPOH: There will be a panel to evaluate the types of prisoners who will be allowed home detention, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

Denying claims that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would be given home detention, Saifuddin Nasution gave his assurance that the panel would look into the severity of the cases committed by the prisoners before allowing them to do so.

“This is why we suggested a reduced prison sentence.

“For offences that carry 20 to 25 years in jail or for those convicted of serious crimes, we will not allow home detention as they could be a threat to society,” he told reporters during his visit to Rumah Seri Kenangan here yesterday.

“For example, like pregnant or new mothers, wouldn’t it be better to put them at home to take care of their babies? Or an elderly person with chronic illness – do we put him in jail?

“They can be (placed) at home while wearing a gadget,” he said, adding that these prisoners had already gone through the due process during their conviction.

Over the weekend, Saifuddin Nasution said the government had agreed in principle to implement the Licensed Release of Prisoners (PBSL) through home detention for those serving jail sentences of four years and below.

This was an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons, he added.

Saifuddin Nasution said, as per international standards, the ratio per 100,000 population ought to be 145 prisoners.

The country, he said, had exceeded the standard with a ratio of 244 prisoners per 100,000 population.

“There are about 80,000 prisoners housed in 43 prisons nationwide,” he said.

Saifuddin Nasution also labelled some reports, which questioned whether Najib would be allowed to be placed in home detention, as “mischievous”.

“I have read some mischievous reports on whether this (move) means that Najib would be put in home detention.

“They cannot see the perspective to lessen congestion, and (it is) for certain categories (of offences),” he said.

“Some people are just looking at this from a skewed point of view,” he added.

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