Former inmates to get placements at mosques

National 2 minutes, 43 seconds


THE Prisons Department is looking to give reformed inmates job placements at mosques to help its committees in executing mosque-related tasks.

Prisons Assistant Counselor Hj Mahali Hj Hassan said a pilot project is currently underway to assign some reformed inmates to mosques as persons who would help clean and preserve the mosque, as well as clean the bodies of the deceased according to the Islamic guidelines.

He believed locals should be given a chance to hold such posts, as at the moment, such tasks are mostly given to foreign workers.

Difficulties faced by former inmates in finding employment, said Hj Mahali, were among the reasons why the pilot project was initiated.

He said that having jobs is essential for former inmates to rebuild their lives.

Hj Mahali said that while some were able to find employment, others failed to do so. This would force them to revert back to the activities that had landed them in jail in the first place.

“What is important is to help them gain the trust of their family members and the community,” he said.

“The pilot project is also a way to provide former inmates with bmore ways to reintegrate themselves back into the society,” he added.

The former inmates would first undergo an intensive course to execute mosque-related tasks. The first of these courses was held and completed last month.

The course was held in collaboration with the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) and the Mosque Affairs Department.

Among what was included in the course were activities designed to refine the former inmates’ understanding of the basic obligations of a Muslim in their daily lives.

Former inmates were also equipped with knowledge on the proper cleansing of deceased bodies through the course.

As of now, Hj Mahali said the placements have not been confirmed yet but the former inmates who completed the course will be volunteers who can be called on for assistance when necessary.

“As this is still a pilot project, we will be looking at the feedback we will receive,” he said.

“And depending on that, we will then look at signing a memorandum of understanding with YSHHB and the Mosque Affairs Department, which could further solidify the project,” he said.

Meanwhile, six participants of the intensive course last month were feted with certificates of completion yesterday, and are due to be placed as volunteers at the Jame’ Asr’ Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque.

Presenting the certificates was the managing director of YSHHB, Hj Brahim Hj Ismail.

Amirul Izzat Hj Awang Yahya, a representative of the participants, said the placement is seen as a training process for all of them, and a chance to hone their skills to increase their job marketability.

He was grateful for the programme as it gives them a chance at employment. He said that landing a job is a major challenge for former inmates.

“After I was released, I tried to apply for various jobs but I have not gotten a single one yet, perhaps it is because I am a former inmate,” he said.

“So I am quite happy that we are are given such care, and we will of course do our best should we finally get a job through this programme,” he added.

The Brunei Times