An inmate hugs a family member during Penang Remand Prison’s Raya celebration event at George Town, today. Pix by NSTP/Danial Saad

GEORGE TOWN: Death Row inmates at the Penang Remand Prison here shed tears of joy as they celebrated Hari Raya with their family and loved ones today.

For Nasir, 36, it was an extra special occasion as he was able to celebrate the birthday of his second child, who turned nine yesterday.

Nasir was convicted of drug trafficking nine years ago and has been in prison since.

"I really miss my kid and glad he and her is here with me on this special day. I just want to hug and kiss him.

"It is definitely a wonderful and indescribable feeling. I am also touched with the presence of my mother who is here, even though she is wheelchair bound. But I really miss my late father who passed away in April this year," he said when met at the prison here today.

Another inmate took the opportunity to advise people not to take drugs as it would destroy their lives forever.

Azam, 48, said his involvement with drugs led him to commit a murder back in 2010.

He regretted his mistakes and felt that there was not much he could do to correct things.

"Do not take drugs, do not even touch it. Alhamdulillah, I am now free of drugs.

"I have come to terms with what had happened. If I am pardoned, I will be happy. If not, I will accept it as fate.

“Everything has been fixed, so I leave it to Allah as He knows what is best for me," he added.

Prison director Tey Hock Soon said 10 inmates were chosen to spend time with their family members for this year's Hari Raya celebration.

He said they were chosen based on their good behaviour and also the willingness of their family members to meet them during the four main celebrations - Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas.

"Usually, they are only able to talk over the phone, but during festive celebrations, we give them space to spend time with their family members.

"This is also to shake off the stigma within the community and make them accept the inmates despite their past," he added.

There are currently a total of 1,512 inmates at the Penang Remand Prison.