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Monday, January 13, 2020

Hanipa: Prisoners pursuing higher education are 'unsung heroes'

Prisoners who continue to pursue their education and successfully complete their studies at the highest level while behind bars are "unsung heroes", said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
He said their academic achievements should be an example to the community for achieving their goals despite their difficult circumstances, and his department planned to publish a book titled "Unsung Heroes" to create awareness over the matter among the public.
"This book not only focuses on the positive achievements of prisoners, but also all the successful individuals who have contributed something positive to society through their respective professions.
"However, I will propose this to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad first. I will brief him further on the publication of the book and I think he would not mind (the proposal),” Hanipa (above) said during a press conference after presenting appreciation plaque to two inmates currently pursuing their post-graduate studies under Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) at the Seberang Perai Prison in Nibong Tebal today.

The two, in their 30s, had previously completed their undergraduate studies while serving time in the Kajang Prison.
Hanipa also called on more inmates to capitalise on the opportunities available to improve their knowledge and skills which could be useful once they were freed.
Jep (not his real name), who will be released in March, said despite facing constraints in terms of available referencing materials as well as restricted use of the internet, he resolved to complete his thesis entitled "The Role of Higher Education Programmes on Rehabilitation of Prisoners (From a Prisoner’s Perspective).
"To me, family support is very important for ex-convicts to start anew after being behind bars for a long time. I am grateful to have such a supportive family including my fiancée who has been waiting for me for eight years," said the 37-year-old who has been serving jail time under Section 376 of the Penal Code since 2012.
For Ken (also not his real name), the opportunity to continue his studies while in prison has given him a new lease of life, and he can't wait to contribute to the community by joining a non-governmental organisation (NGO) once he is released in 2021.
"When I came here I was 'down', but the people at the prison gave me much motivation to continue my studies," said the 35-year-old, who has been serving a sentence under Section 304 of the Penal Code since 2011.

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