TAPAH: The I-Kembali programme to help former inmates get jobs, is gaining traction among employers looking for workers, says Pertubuhan Rakan Ghullam Kembali (Pergak) chairman Datuk Seri Siti Murni Sheikh Ahmad.
More than 30 companies registered with the organisation since the programme was implemented in June with 285 former prisoners finding employment, she said.
Pergak is targeting for 1,000 ex-prisoners to be employed this year.
“Most of the ex-prisoners who have been employed so far have shown encouraging performance and there have been no problems, ” she said when met by reporters at a session to enlist ex-inmates to the I-Kembali programme at the Tapah Prison here yesterday.
The enlistment session saw 65 inmates who completed their sentences selected for the I-Kembali programme.
They will undergo a motivational session at the Ghullam Care and Rehabilitation Centre in Salak Tinggi, Selangor, for 14 days before starting work.
A former prisoner who only wished to be known as Angah, 42, said he could not wait to begin a new life with proper employment.
“I want to change my life and take advantage of this opportunity as best I can. I hope I can be accepted by my family and community, ” said the native of Felda Trolak Timur, Sungkai, who was previously involved in a drug case.
Inmates eligible to participate in I-Kembali comprised offenders sentenced to not more than one year in prison and had served half of their sentences, in addition to meeting the requirements of human development programme activities with certain marks, said Siti Murni.
“Participants who have been screened are placed in six employment sectors, namely manufacturing, services, construction, agriculture and plantation, marketing and management.
“Most of the selected participants are aged 50 and below of various races and religions, ” she said.
The starting salary for participants was between RM1,200 and RM2,000, depending on the type of sector, while the accommodation was also provided by the employer.
Tapah Prison director DCP Datuk Kamarulzaman Mamat said many ex-prisoners were eager to start a new life after serving their sentences and wanted to change for the better.
“With a programme like this, former prisoners will have a place to depend on to start a new life, without any stigma and discrimination, ” he said. — Bernama