Dec 18, 2011 Kota Kinabalu: Kota Kinabalu Central Prison is running out of space to house Death Row convicts in Sabah and is in urgent need of another block.
Its Director Abdul Halim Bin Ma-Hasan said the present block is occupied by 38 male prisoners and could not cater to additional prisoners sentenced to death.
"We need another block that can house an additional 50 such prisoners because we noted a drastic increase in crime and narcotic cases that are pending trial in the High Court for offences that provide for the death penalty.
"Another reason is because the central prison here is the main prison for Death Row prisoners throughout Sabah and we have no choice but to accept them. Thus we need more cells to house them.
"We have submitted our application for funding to build one block to the development division of our headquarters in Kajang to be considered," he said.
Abdul Halim disclosed this during the Family Day of Kota Kinabalu Central Prison here on Saturday. The event, held for the first time for the 413 prison staff was aimed at fostering closer ties between the senior officers and the staff as well as the families.
While waiting for the application to be approved, Abdul Halim said they have decided to renovate an old block to house up to another 20 Death Row prisoners.
He attributed the drastic increase in the number of people facing the death penalty to the effectiveness of the High Court in Sabah in expediting cases.
Another reason, Abdul Halim said is that the enforcement authorities in the State have made a number of arrests, especially involving drug mules, who are investigated and charged under provisions that provide for the death penalty.
It was also learnt that the last known execution was carried out in the 1990s.
Fortunately, Abdul Halim said there is no congestion in the male prison that has 1,560 prisoners comprising 900 locals and 660 foreigners.
"Earlier, we did face a congestion in the male prison but when a new block was built that can accommodate 500 people, the problem was solved.
"We use the new block to place those who are remanded and foreigners who are charged with various criminal cases," Abdul Halim said.
A variety of activities were organised such as telematches for the children, contribution of cash and goodies to 30 senior citizens from the Kinarut Sri Pritchard Old Folk's Home and a total of 364 school bags were distributed to the children of staff.