The wave of sympathy for Nurin Jazlin Jazimin and her family was palpable last night. Sitting in the audience among the more than 300 students who filled the Main Hall to capacity, I was subdued with emotion. Looking at these future leaders, I could not help but recall how it was like to be so young, to be so idealistic and to be so fired up by passionate fervour for what they believed in. It would appear that their youthful energies were for the forum entitled ‘Kita Semakin Kejam. Kenapa?” organised by the CENSERVE Team under the Community Service Unit, Student Development Division of International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in collaboration with MASTIKA and NTV7. But I believe that they turned up en masse to catch a glimpse of Jazimin and his family. In their own way, the students, the organisers and the panellists wanted to bond with this still traumatized family in a show of human sympathy. Their sincere and heartfelt gesture touched me deeply.
The forum was officiated by the newly appointed Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Ismail Omar while panelists included Jazimin, Dato’ Zaman Khan (Former Director-General of Prisons Department), and A/P Dr. Noor Azlan Md Noor (IIUM). The discussion was ably moderated by Pn. Roziyatun Jamaluddin (IIUM). The focus of the forum was a campaign by Mastika magazine to create awareness on crimes that occur in the country. Any lasting resolutions from the discussion? It seemed the forum was stating the obvious – crime is on the rise, there is a breakdown in the family unit, community spirit is lacking and the media has to play a more responsible role when highlighting crime.
Roziyatun’s opening words “Kes Nurin masih berbekas di hati kita. Saya merasa terharu bahawa, dalam kesedihan, bapa allahyarhamah Nurin sudi tampil untuk berkongsi kesedihan beliau.” brought loud applause. Suddenly handed the mike, Jazimin was caught by surprise and admitted that he was overwhelmed as he had never spoken before such a huge audience. Unable to continue as he tried to recall the events since Nurin’s disappearance, he could only mutter “Saya berasa kecewa. Saya kecewa.” There was pin drop silence in that hall. Although less eloquent than the affable Datuk Zaman and the more academic Dr Noor Azlan, Jazimin’s quiet presence on stage seemed to have a pacifying effect on the excitable audience. They were there to see him. That much was obvious.
With me last night were Nurin’s mother Norazian Bistaman, her cute sisters Nurin Jazshira (9) and Nurin Jazrina (6). her uncle Jasni, Citizens for Nurin Alert (CFNA) chairman Kamal Affandi, and friends who showed up to give support to Jazimin. When asked on whether he was happy with police investigations, Jazimin said he only knew that investigations were ongoing. He added that “Setakat ini saya masih bersabar kerana saya tahu bukan saja saya yang ingin kes ini diselesaikan tetapi juga ramai rakyat Malaysia yang menanti dengan sabar.” I am sure details of the forum will be published in the next issue of Mastika. When asked his reaction when told that he and his wife could be charged for negligence, a less tense Jazimin said: “Kalau ibubapa boleh dikenakan tindakan mahkamah kerana tidak mendidik anak mereka dengan betul, cuba ingat bahawa anak saya yang telah diambil dan dibawa lari oleh orang. Sepatutnya, ibubapa orang yang membawa lari anak saya itu patut dikenakan tindakan. Bukan saya!” to thunderous applause. I wouldn’t say that the forum really achieved much in resolving the issues at hand but I must admit the Q&A session added much colour to the proceedings. Datuk Zaman Khan was the easy target and students came forward with concerns about police wrongdoing. I was much saddened by the questions they raised including one about the Altantuya and Datuk Ramli Yusuf cases with reference to reports in Malaysia Today which I assumed was a question on abuse of power by the police. Datuk Zaman declined to comment so as not to subjudice these ongoing court cases. This prompted Kamal to take the floor to remind students the legal precept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Obviously a well-known TV personality among the students through his KM/J programme on RTM1, this crime analyst and former police officer pointed out that one bad police officer did not mean the entire police force was bad. That would be the same argument as saying that when one student is “bodoh atau bangang” it did not mean that all students are likewise, he added in emphasis.
I was puzzled when another student raised concerns about life being too cosy in prison (like being given six meals a day as she was told during a visit) as this would encourage prisoners to stay longer in prisons, until she raised a question on Hudud Law. I guess the opinion shared by many in the audience is that it would be better to flog the prisoner (as befitting his crime) or punish him according to tenets of Islamic law and then release him rather than to deprive him of his freedom. Okay, I am no human rights lawyer and it would appear that only lawyers seem to know about human rights so I leave the hair splitting to them. I suppose if all of us were law abiding citizens that would really be no need for lawyers. But man or woman or whatever is politically correct (I would prefer humankind) being what they are, will push and shove either way. In law there is no black and white, only mostly grey. As my law student daughter seems to think in any argument with me, that only lawyers are right. But the issue that was not addressed by the panel nor in the call for Hudud Law was the simple question – Don’t you need to catch the criminal first before you can flog them? If we are all busy arguing, who the hell is catching the crooks?
In closing, Jazimin expressed hope that his daughter’s killers would be caught soon and he also managed to say that he hoped NURIN Alert would be implemented in Malaysia. I would like to report that Citizens for Nurin Alert had side discussions after the forum with Kamal and Jasni having a word with the deputy IGP, Datuk Ismail, on the NURIN Alert. Another discussion was held with a corporate figure who has shown interest in the setting up of a NURIN Alert Centre. More details on that to follow from Jasni here. In the meantime, I hope many of the IIUM students I spoke with last night will spread the word about NURIN Alert. I also express my sincerest gratitude to them for their gracious hospitality and a most interesting event. As I told them, more than mere rhetoric, we need to turn concern for the growing number of brutal crimes and sympathy for Nurin into positive action. Join us in the Citizens for Nurin Alert. We need your support!