Does convicted M'sian scholar deserve a 2nd chance?
Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has joined the chorus of of voices who are against giving a second chance to a Malaysian scholar who was convicted in the UK of possessing child pornography.
Using the hastag #Nosecondchance, he wrote on his Twitter account that he hoped that the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) - a government agency which aims to improve the lives of Malaysians, especially those living in rural areas - would not waste public money by giving the scholar a second chance.
Mara was hit by criticism when it expressed willingness to give its scholar a second chance when he is released from prison in Britain.
Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, 23, was convicted in Britain of being in the possession of extreme pornographic images and videos of children.
Studying Mathematics at Imperial College, one of the top universities in the world, on a scholarship awarded by Mara, he was arrested after British police found him in his bedroom in Queensborough Terrace in London with his laptop open next to a life-size mannequin of a boy in November 2014.
They found 30,000 extreme child pornographic materials some of which were described by the Police as some of the "most extreme" images that they have seen.
Although British media reports that he has been sentenced to five years jail, Mara disputes those reports and instead said that he was only jailed for nine-months.
The sentence was backdated to November when he was first arrested, meaning he only had to spend another four months in jail.
Mara council member Nazir Hussin Akhtar had said on Tuesday (May 5): "In unofficial discussions, council members and the Mara chairman have agreed to give him a second chance after he serves his sentence."
"We will support him in any way possible to help him rebuild his character and one way is to give him a chance to study in any Mara institution," he added.
"Any individual who repents for a mistake should be given a second chance after being punished especially among gifted students who can become national assets."
He claimed prison officials had reported good conduct by Nur Fitri until his sentence was reduced, thereby justifying their decision to give him a second chance.
"He is a smart student and it is a pity to waste someone who can be an asset to the country," he said.
Mara chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, said the student should be allowed to undergo rehabilitation and be given the chance to complete his studies here.
"Personally, I believe this young man needs to undergo rehabilitation and continue his studies," he said in a post on his Facebook page.
" Regardless of whether his studies are sponsored or not - that's a different matter - helping problematic citizens is our responsibility."
He added: "Helping him does not mean we agree with what he did. He has a future ahead of him and we need to help him, not to pile on condemnation."
Source: The Star Online, Twitter, Mirror, International Business Times