KK Central Prison to have orchestra

KOTA KINABALU: One hundred convicts from the Kota Kinabalu (KK) Central Prison will be members of Malaysia’s first prison orchestra group by 2020.

Sabah and Labuan Federal Territory Prisons director Suria Idris said KK Central Prison and smart partner Malaysia Music Teachers Training College (MMTC), will not only use music to rehabilitate inmates but also train them to be certified musicians and music educators.

“This project is expected to run for three years and involve a target of 100 inmates in a Prison Orchestra Group in year 2020,” said Suria at the MMTC instrument handover to KK Central Prison in Kepayan here, yesterday.

“In the first phase of 2018, 24 inmates have been selected through a transparent interview process that takes into consideration the balance of sentence, discipline and citizenship.

“We hope that the Prison Orchestra Group will be on par with orchestra groups out there,” he added.

KK Central Prison director Rosman Norman said the pilot project was initiated at the Kota Kinabalu Integrity School (SIKK) in October and November 2016.

He added that the project, which was director Suria’s brainchild, was then extended to 24 adult inmates in November 2017.

“The project balances the stress faced by inmates and helps avoid incidents such as fights, suicides and so on,” said Rosman.

MMTC executive director Peter Chua, who presented a RM50,000 musical instrument donation to the State Prison Department, said the project was just the beginning for inmates in Sabah.

“The next stage will involve pianos and cellos. We hope other non-governmental organizations will also join in and support this project,” he said.

“We hope that inmates can become part of a musical orchestra, choir and educators.

“We plan to achieve the five-year roadmap drawn with the Sabah State Prison’s Department in three years,” added Chua.

KK Women’s Prison director Lim Kim Mooi, Music Mart Academy and Performing Arts chief executive officer Dr Janet Lee, and MMTC teachers were also in attendance at the ceremony.

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