KUALA LUMPUR: The country spends more RM1mil a day on detainees in its prisons.Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said as at Nov 29, there were 34,946 prisoners in the country.
He said 15.74%, or 5,503 detainees, were Indonesians who had been convicted for various crimes.
"The Government spends RM35 a day on each detainee, which includes the cost of food, equipment, clothing, health, staff wages and rehabilitation programmes," he told Parliament Wednesday in response to a question from Datuk Mohd Nasir Ibrahim Fikri (BN-Kuala Nerus).
Abu Seman said the number of Indonesian detainees had been on the decline, as there were 6,264 Indonesian prisoners last year compared with 7,434 in 2008. - Star, 1/12/2010, More than RM1mil a day spent on detainees
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Is this another attempt to tarnish the image of migrants?
This time according to the Star report, it is about persons who have been convicted? i.e. those who pleaded guilty...or those who have been found guilty after a trial.
Remember that many poor persons (local or migrant) sometimes would have chosen to plead guilty even if they may be innocent. The reason for this is that they may not be able to get someone to post bail...and that means staying in detention until their trial starts - and for some the amount of time spend waiting would sometimes be more than the sentence. Hence, the logic that operates is best plead guilty and then serve out the sentence. (Many Malaysians who just pay their traffic summons despite knowing that they did no wrong - better settle now rather than waste time and money trying to defend yourself in a court case.)
When it comes to foreigners, including Indonesians - bail sometimes is very difficult and is effectively unavailable. It is not just the question of having money - but also finding a local Malaysian surety. Then, normally the court will hold on to their passport - and hence one gets 'detained' in Malaysia until the trial starts and ends... so again maybe better to plead guilty and serve the time - and get out and move on with life.
How many of these Indonesians are really in detention for the crime of not having their own passport, or overstaying - one would expect that this will be a big number.
We really need to know?
- What are the offences that they have been convicted of?
- Were they convicted after the court found them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?
But even then, given that there are about 2 million documented migrants, and possibly more than 5 million undocumented migrants in the country, whereby most of them are Indonesians. Given the population of the country is 28 million (+5 million) - the 15 plus percentage is really nothing - with 85% Malaysians in detention.
Maybe, the government should start reviewing the sentences especially for minor crimes - maybe we should be thinking of rehabilitation....maybe sentences like community work, etc
Release all that are being detained under Detention Without Trial Laws - that should be about 1,000 or more.
Maybe release all those undocumented migrants, especially those from Burma, and allow them to stay and work legally in Malaysia