KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar today likened the allocation for inmates to an investment for one’s rehabilitation and said it must be more goal-driven.
The Opposition lawmaker was speaking during the launch of Suara Rakyat Malaysia’s (Suaram) report dubbed “Reforming Prisons and All Places of Detention Moving Into the Endemic Phase in Malaysia”.
She also said that focusing on rehabilitation programmes for petty drug abusers would be more effective than utilising the budget to imprison them.
“You (government) have to utilise the fund (properly, and) not to just look into how many people you can house in prison.
“But really ensure that you also provide the treatment that they require because more than 60 per cent are there (in prison) because they are addicted to a particular substance,” she said.
She added that constant engagement with drug abusers through harm reduction treatments for their addiction would be a better investment as it could prevent the issue of overcrowding prisons.
In its report, Suaram said that several factors have contributed to overcrowding in the country’s prisons and detention centres, including incarceration for minor drug offences, possible unbalanced discretion between police and the judiciary, and the indefinite period of detention in immigration detention centres.
Previously, Prisons Department commissioner-general Datuk Nordin Muhammad had pledged to form a committee to study the effectiveness of Sarawak’s method on overcoming the issue of overcrowding in its prisons.