Rehabilitation instead of capital punishment. That was the issue I wrote about in my column last week and it was in response to the Bali 9 execution.
The piece received fairly interesting responses from the readers. It seems that most Malaysians (and I’m only extrapolating here) are in favour of capital punishment.
However, I am not swayed and still adamant that rehabilitation is the way to go rather than sentencing someone to death or dismembering their limbs.
This week I would like raise the same issue, but this time using a different case study. And so comes the case of the convicted Malaysian paedophile Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin.
Convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in the United Kingdom, Nur Fitri’s case has been on the top section of news websites all across the country.
There was this big debate between politicians, activists and members of the normal public on whether he should be given a second chance or not.
Some say he should be brought back to the country and be given a chance to finish his studies because he is an intelligent student. Some say it would be better for him to just stay in prison.
As a father to a little girl, I am disgusted just like everyone else with the thoughts and intentions of paedophiles and I can definitely understand the outrage and anger against people like these.
But, I also strongly believe that everyone deserves a second chance and the challenge is to punish them enough so that there will be remorse, then rehabilitation so they can reenter society.
Everybody makes mistakes and although we need to realise that there are consequence and we need to pay for the mistakes we make, we also deserve the chance for reform.
And when I say that everyone makes mistakes, I do mean everyone, including those who are given the authority and are responsible for judging and sentencing.
So there should always be an avenue for review and exoneration before it’s too late. And it would definitely be too late once someone has been executed or had limbs cut off.
Remember that it is always better to treat the disease than the symptoms and just by eliminating people who do wrong doesn’t eliminate the cause as to why they did wrong in the first place.
But at the end of the day, I am saying this from the perspective of an observer. Would my perspective be different if I or a loved one was a victim?
Would an eye for an eye then be justified? Would it mean that I would want the perpetrator to be killed, maimed or even incarcerated for life? Would it be so easy to forgive?