According to Ab Basir, prisons in Sabah were now filled beyond their capacity of 5,500 people, with the cost of food borne by the government for each inmate totalling RM8.40.
“The prisons in Sabah have exceeded their capacity. However, we are still able to manage the inmates well,” he told reporters after witnessing a ceremony for the handing-over-of-duties by the Kota Kinabalu Central Prison Director, here today.
At the ceremony, Ajidin Salleh took over as Kota Kinabalu Central Prison Director from Suria Idris who was transferred to the Parole Board in the Home Ministry. Prior to his appointment, Ajidin was Head of the Rehabilitation Centre at the Malaysian Prisons Headquarters.
Ab Basir said to reduce congestion in the prisons, as soon as the instruction was issued by the government, the department was ready to implement a transfer-of-prisoners programme to repatriate the inmates to their countries of origin where they could continue to serve their sentences.
Ab Basir said other measures to reduce the congestion in Sabah prisons was the proposal to construct a prison in Lahad Datu due to be built this year, which had a capacity of about 1,000 inmates at any one time.
He said the new Labuan prison could also hold 400 inmates who had been transferred from the Tawau, Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu prisons.
On the vision to make Sabah prisons a world-class prison by 2020, Ab Basir said efforts were being made towards this, including the infrastructure for inmates and training for guards.