Prisoners cherish Raya spent with family

KUANTAN, Malaysia - Tears flowed freely as two brothers hugged and kissed their 56-year-old mother during her visit to the Penor Prison, here, yesterday.

Azhar, 23, and Azmi, 25, (not their real names) were overcome with emotion when they saw their family members.

Azhar said their parents' presence on the second day of Hari Raya Aidilfitiri was a boost to start a new life upon their release in November.

"I was worried they might never accept us back but, thank God, they have forgiven our mistakes and choose not to sideline us. Instead, they want us to start afresh.

"Despite their age, my parents still wanted to travel all the way from Kelantan to meet us. I miss the fun of celebrating Hari Raya at home with my family," said the former odd-job worker, who was sentenced to jail along with Azmi early this year for drug offences.

Nasir (not his real name), 47, who has been serving his prison sentence after he was found guilty of drug offences in 2004, said he had been counting the days since he was informed that his family would travel from Negri Sembilan to visit him.

"This reunion is a much-anticipated event for most of the inmates. Normally, we are separated by a glass panel during visits, but during Raya, we are given the freedom to mingle and have a meal with our families."

Penor Prison rehabilitation unit head Chief Inspector Mohd Ranie Zakaria said prisoners were among the 17 who were given an hour each to meet their families at the prison's "Jalinan Kasih" programme yesterday.

Become a fan on Facebook