CMCO: Sombre Aidilfitri for prisoners longing to meet loved ones

23 May 2020 / 18:22 H.

TAPAH: After a month of fasting, the arrival of Aidilfitri is eagerly awaited by all Muslims especially those behind bars, to meet face-to-face with their loved ones.

This year, however, following the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which has been extended until June 9, this yearning is likely to be left unfulfilled.

An inmate who wants to be known as ‘Sam’, 33, who was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder and robbery at a gold shop in Taiping in 2012, said he missed his parents and two children.

“The last time I saw my parents was through the prison glass partition before the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into force. I was hoping to seek their apology this Raya but alas, it was not meant to be.

“My wife and I are already divorced. I deeply regret my past actions causing my ex-wife to prohibit me from seeing my children who are now 12 and eight. I long for my youngest child to call me ‘ayah’ as I have not seen him as he was only a month old when I was sentenced to prison,” he told Bernama recently.

The first year in prison proved to be a bitter pill for him to swallow since he also lost his wife and family. He could not have regretted his actions enough, he said.

As for ‘Salmah’ (not her real name), 31, who committed an offence under Section 39 (B) (1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (ADB) in 2013, she dreamed of making a pudding which happened to be her son’s (born in the prison seven years ago) favourite dessert.

Recalling her dark past, Salmah was two months pregnant when she was arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport seven years ago for drugs possession.

She managed to take care of her child for only ten months before handing him over to a close relative to be cared for. She said the prison was not a conducive place to raise a child especially since he was always sick.

Meanwhile, Tapah Prison director Abdul Razak Darus said under normal circumstances, one week after the first day of Syawal, several prisoners would be allowed to meet their loved ones through the ‘Jalinan Kasih’ programme in conjunction with Aidilfitri celebration but the event was unlikely to be held this year.

“Each year, we give inmates especially those serving life sentences or those with families living far away, the opportunity to meet. However, this time around, no face-to-face meeting is allowed during CMCO,” he said.

However, in order to make up for their longing, Tapah Prison will allow selected prisoners to make phone calls to their families for 10 minutes, to be monitored by prison officials. — Bernama

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