DPM: M’sia hailed for its success in deradicalisation programme  


KUCHING: Malaysia has gained momentum in its deradicalisation programme, having recorded a success rate of 97 per cent.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, specialists such as psychologists, as well as those from the police force and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have contributed tremendously towards such achievement, making Malaysia a model country when it comes to countering radicalism and extremism.

“I want to inform you all that the 130 individuals arrested for (their) involvement in militant activities, radicalism and extremism are isolated from other inmates.

“These 130 inmates are undergoing the deradicalisation programme, and as many as 97 per cent of them have been not found to be involved in extremism and radicalism again,” he said in opening the 226th Prisons Day at Padang Merdeka here yesterday.

Ahmad Zahid thus highlighted Malaysia as ‘the best country in deradicalisation’, besides having hosted the ‘International Conference on Deradicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism’ in Kuala Lumpur last month.

He said what the nation was committed in achieving was also in line with the resolutions of the United Nations (UN) and the Interpol.

He also hailed the prisons in Sarawak for registering the lowest recidivism rate among other states in the country.

Of the 2,600 capacity in prisons across the state, he noted that only 50 per cent was occupied by locals.

“Sarawak has achieved the best record in recidivism, with only 0.02 per cent of those released from prisons relapsed into crime. This is why the Malaysian Prisons Department chose Kuching (as the venue for this year’s Prisons Day).”

The deputy premier, who is also Home Affairs Minister, further stated that prisons were not just places to isolate and penalise criminals, but should also serve as correctional institutions.

In terms of recidivism, he said prisons in the country recorded only a low percentage rate of 8.7.

This is the lowest among Asean and Asian nations, he said.

“Inmates have been trained to be productive. The items that they produce are marketed outside prisons and also used in prisons. Their products have not just enabled the Prisons Department to make profits but also making themselves useful in contributing to the economy.

“Inmates in Malaysia have produced items worth RM32 million and this is the best performance ever. They make songket, batik, ‘kuih-kuih’ and even run their own bread factory and laundry centre.”

Ahmad Zahid said while making the Prisons Department an income-generating agency, the government also shared the income with the inmates.

“We encourage them to open personal bank accounts so that when they are released, they already have savings to carry on with their lives — this would help prevent a relapse into crime.”

At the function, Ahmad Zahid also launched the online system for My-Pride products. It is a system where people can place orders for products made by inmates via online, and have the items delivered to them post-purchase.

The ceremony was also attended by Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, and Malaysian Prisons Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar.