FESTIVE CHEER: Radio Televisyen Malaysia’s Mutiara FM gets up close to inmates and treats them to a mini Hari Raya concert
NIBONG TEBAL: INMATES at the Seberang Prai Prison here received some special visitors recently -- radio personalities and producers from Radio Televisyen Malaysia's Mutiara FM.
The one-day visit was to allow the radio's producers to conduct interviews with inmates for Mutiara FM's special Ramadan and Merdeka Day programmes.
The interviews gave the inmates a rare chance to share stories about their lives, feelings and hopes, which would be aired on the radio during the fasting month and on Merdeka eve.
Apart from making recordings, Mutiara FM also threw an early Hari Raya mini concert for the inmates at the prison's sports centre.
There were boria and song performances. Some inmates were invited on stage to sing solos and duets with radio personalities.
Prison director Kamarudzaman Mamat was also a good sport. He belted out a Hari Raya number to the cheers of 1,400 inmates.
"This is the first time we are having such a programme with a radio station. We are grateful that Mutiara FM is willing to do this," said Kamarudzaman.
"This shows that people do care about the inmates. This special programme also gives us a chance to show the public what the prison system is about and what we do, and also help reduce the stigma and discrimination against inmates," he said.
The event was co-organised by the prison department and the radio station.
Nurulhhusna Bokhari, one of the programme producers, said the programme got encouraging response from the inmates.
"We hope we can help the public see convicts as normal people with talents of their own instead of plain criminals," said Nurulhhusna.
Also present was Prisons Department rehabilitation and treatment section head Ajidin Salleh, who said public acceptance towards released inmates had improved over the years with the help of awareness programmes, media reports and efforts by Non-Governmental Organisations.
He said out of 10 released inmates, only one or two would fall back into a life of crime and return to jail within three years of release.
"We have the lowest rate of convicts going back to jail in the region, which reflects on the success of rehabilitation programmes introduced in jails nationwide.
"But even with the many skills training and motivational programmes we give them in prison to prepare them for life outside, society still plays a major role in helping them start afresh and to be part of the workforce again,"said Ajidin.