Ahmad (not his real name) was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for waging war against the King, and was among 13 convicts who were granted early pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in conjunction with the country’s 63rd National Day.

Looking forward to better days ahead

Having spent 20 years behind bars for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Ahmad (not his real name) found himself “lost” for a while after returning to society.

“Before I went to prison, the village I stayed was still a forest area, now there are houses everywhere. It scares me to even ride the motorcycle because there are so many lorries and cars on the road. It is not like before anymore.

“Even the televisions, they are thin (flat screen) and for the motorcycles, you don’t have to kick-start them anymore,” he said.

Ahmad, 49, said his life since two weeks ago was like a dream, and that sometimes it made him smile, remembering the new things he experienced.

“My family members, they like to tease me by giving me sophisticated gadgets. I’ll be fiddling with the gadgets and they will laugh at me.

“What makes me smile and feel blessed is to see what a big family I have. When I left my family, there were only five of us, but now I have so many nieces and nephews, not sure how many, more than 15 perhaps,” he said when interviewed by Bernama here.

The interview was not the first by Bernama as previously on May 19, he gave an exclusive interview to Bernama at Marang Prison.

Ahmad, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for waging war against the king, was among 13 convicts who were granted early pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in conjunction with the country’s 63rd National Day.

He was sent to Sungai Buloh Prison to serve the sentence and then transferred to the Kajang Prison, where he stayed for eight years, and in 2008, he was transferred to Marang Prison until his release on August 17.

“I am overwhelmed by the pardon granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Thank you His Majesty. Allah has granted my prayers and also that of my family members for my early release.

“Being in prison for 20 years is not a wonderful thing to remember. If possible, I want it forgotten. A day before my release (August 16), I was called by the prison officer to undergo a health examination. I knew nothing then (about the pardon), until I was asked to read a letter.

“The letter stated about my four appeals which were rejected, and then came the word ‘granted’ for the fifth appeal and by then I was not able to continue reading the letter,” he added.

Ahmad said he was then asked to perform the ‘sujud syukur’ (prostration of gratitude).

“I was so ecstatic that I could not get up and had to be helped by prison officers to walk. When news on my release reached my prison mates, they all came to congratulate me.

“The last night in prison was the longest. I could not sleep. I just laid down on the cement floor…my mattress, blanket, containers and others, I had given them away to my prison mates then.

“On the last day, before stepping out of the prison, I was taken to see the prison officer. I was served durian…that was the gift for my release. It was then, I could not stop my tears. It kept flowing, it was 20 years ago that I had my last taste of durian,” said Ahmad, looking cheerful during the interview.

When he arrived home on August 17, Ahmad said his family members and close relatives were waiting for him.

Prior to that, Ahmad said a thanksgiving feast for his release was held at a surau near his house.

On his plans, Ahmad, who learned furniture-making while in prison, said he had received a job offer, but was still considering it.

“If possible, I would like to be with my family, especially my sister, and to help them because of what they had done for me over the years, in never giving up on me, always going to the prison to visit me,” he added.

Ahmad said among the first thing he did after his release was to visit his parents’ graves. Both his parents died while he was in prison. — Bernama