Compulsory Attendence Centre
Malaysia Prison Department

The Problem

Prior to the implementation of Compulsory Attendance Order, there was no alternative to imprisonment besides fine. This resulted to petty crime offenders were also put behind bars to serve their crime and this further contributed to congestion in the prisons. It also disrupted family ties, persons losing their jobs and created economic problems for both the offender and family. Offenders also had to live on negative stigmatization by the public for minor offences and this affected their morale and self esteem.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Compulsory Attendance Order is the implementation of the concept of punishment and rehabilitation meted out in the community. It is an alternative sentence to imprisonment effected by the Compulsory Attendance Act-offenders Offenders 1954 (Act 461). This Act has been in existence since 56 years ago, but was never executed for reasons not known. This Act is not implemented in Sabah and Sarawak as this Act existed before the consolidation of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.

Compulsory Attendance Order requires the offender to attend daily at a centre to specified in the Order and to undertake compulsory work for a period not exceeding three months and not exceeding four hours each day, exclusive of any intervals for meals, refreshment or rest. For further ensuring due compliance with the Order, it requires the offender to enter into a bond with or without sureties. If the offender is gainfully occupied in employment, the compulsory work should occupy only that part of the offender’s time which would represent the leisure hours.

Before making a Compulsory Attendance Order, the Court shall explain to the person concerned in ordinary language the effect of the Order and the consequence of failure to comply. The Court shall not make the Order unless the person expresses his willingness to comply with the requirements.

Since implemented in September 2010, a total of 528 have been sentenced under this Order. As per date (23 December 2011), there were no cases of reoffending among these offenders. In fact, there were cases whereby even upon completing their Order, the ex-offenders with other fellow friends return to their workplace to continue rendering services. This provides a positive impact that for minor offenders, this form of sentencing has got better effect compared to imprisonment.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Given the proposed implementation of this program, it was by the Minister of Home Affairs as one of the area under the initiative to strengthen the implementation of enforcement to address reoffending, reducing crime and reducing the impact of imprisonment on offenders. In July 2010, the Minister of Home Affairs declared the State and District Parole Office as the Compulsory Attendance Centre. Together with other preparations, Prison Department was fully ready to accept offenders with effect from 1 September 2010.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The Government Transformation Programme (GTP) was devised in accordance with the principles of 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now. The objective of GTP is two-fold – first, to transform the government to be more effective in its delivery of services and accountable for outcomes that matter most to the Rakyat – the people; and second, to move Malaysia forward to become an advanced, united, and just society with high standards of living for all. This is in line with the national mission of achieving Vision 2020 – for Malaysia to become a fully developed nation.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib has identified six major policy areas in which Key Performance Indicators which will play an important role in improving the effectiveness of the Malaysian government. These are known as National Key Result Areas (NKRAs). The NKRAs include crime reduction, reducing government corruption, increased access to quality education, improvements in the standard of living for low income groups, upgrades to rural infrastructure, and improvements in public transportation.

Under the NKRA’s initiative in reducing crime, the Compulsory Attendance Order was proposed. The main objective of this Order is to ensure minor crime offenders do not spent their time in prison but contribute to the society by engaging themselves in compulsory work. This enables them to continue their normal living without jeopardizing their job opportunity. It also provides an opportunity to the offenders to be reformed and rehabilitated in the community rather being incarcerated. Through this, the department also managed to reduce the operation cost of the department and help to save the Government’s budget; in which if these offenders were to sent to prison, it incurs costs.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Various steps were undertaken by the Prisons Department of Malaysia to implement this initiative. They are:-

i) Roadshows were conducted by meeting up with officials from the Attorney General’s office,magistrates and judges to gain cooperation to implement this Order. Briefing was also conducted to inform them the preparation carried out by the department tom implement this Act.
ii) Awareness sessions were held for better understanding of the public in order to gain confidence and to assure them of their safety and security
iii) Prison staff were given intensive courses to enhance knowledge and skills on the subject matter- especially the understanding and the spirit of the Act
iv) Networking was established with potential work place operators to conduct compulsory work.
v) Standard Operating Procedures were drafted and approved by the Commissioner General of Prison and the Parole Director to prescribe procedures to be followed routinely and as guidelines to implementors

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
In implementing this Act, the main obstacles encountered are shortage of manpower. This Act was implemented using the existing staff at District and State Parole Office. Although it is manageable but to a certain level it adds burden to staff who were initially appointed to undertake parole task. Acceptance by the public was not very positive. They were quite reluctant to allow their premises for compulsory work for fear of misuse or misconduct by the offenders. This was taken care of by giving the public the confidence that their safety is our paramount concern. We give assurance to the public that the staff will be present at all time to supervise the offenders while at work. Approval from the operators will be seeked before any action taken. Another obstacles faced is the attitude of the offenders. Sometimes they show lack of commitment on the work given. In order to overcome this situation, they are counseled by the staff to increase their commitment and to show gratitude to the government in providing such alternative sentencing.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
During the implementation of the Compulsory Attendance Centre, NGOs play an important role in the punishment of the Compulsory Attendance Order. The NGOs play a role in providing the work site mandatory for offenders. This include premises such as worship places, orphanages, old folks homes spastic children homes and others. Besides that, the local authorities and the hospitals also collaborates with the Prisons Department in providing work site for the offenders. These services are provided free of charge, hence no costs incurred. Existing staff are being utilize in this initiative. However, costs incur in transportation for staff to go the site of work.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Since its implementation in October 2010 we have received a very good feedback from the community and families of offenders. The general public and NGOs are roped into this system to provide guidance and the needful assistance to keep this initiative going. From the response and outcome that we see it the first year of its implementation we strongly believe that this initiative is sustainable.

It is not possible for the initiative to be ‘transferable’ to other agencies, because it comes under the purview of the criminal justice system, therefore the ownership for the moment falls under the jurisdiction of prison department.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Since the implementation of the CAC, 528 offenders who have gone through this sentence. The effect of this undertaking, the department is able to save approximately RM1.6 million and the implementation has also helped in reducing recidivists. Factors which contributed to the success of the initiative are commitment of the staff although it is an extra burden to their initial task, support from the Court and public. Not forgetting the cooperation rendered by the premise operators who have allowed us to use their premises as work site.

Compulsory work as contained in the Offenders Compulsory Attendance Act 1954 (Act 461) means any labour, job, jobs or courses of instruction which is ruled by the Compulsory Attendance Centre Officer to be undertaken by the offender. The work helps to bring awareness to the offender while doing the work to help those less fortunate. What is certain here is that after the offender completed a sentence of Compulsory Attendance Order, the offender will be a better person, responsible and ethical.

We believe that the initiative will gain acceptance from the public. Changes in attitude, technology and level of education have eroded the stance that a prison cell is the best place for every convicted criminal. Alternative sentencing is finding creative ways to deal with minor, nonviolent offenders.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Malaysia Prison Department
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Abdul Aziz Mohamad
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   0387341804 / 0387341805
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Department of Parole and Comunity Service
Postal Code:   43000
City:   Kajang
State/Province:   Selangor
Country:   Malaysia

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