MARANG: Achieving seven As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination should have earned him a place in an institution of higher learning.
But Ahmad, 17, (not his real name) landed behind bars instead for ketum addiction after picking up the habit from friends following the examination in 2017.
Interviewed by Bernama at the Marang Prison recently, he expressed regret over his actions as he was an examplary student at a secondary school in Kota Bahru, Kelantan.
Ahmad was jailed for a year after he pleaded guilty to possessing 1kg of ketum leaves in 2018 and has to undergo the sentence until August.
‘’I have only myself to blame for what happened. I was lonely until I met these five village mates who were willing to talk to me.
‘’I saw them taking horse pills (ketamine) and consuming ketum water several times.
“At first, I did not follow them but my curiosity got the better of me and eventually, I was hooked and was willing to spend all my money to buy the stuff,” he said.
Ahmad, who took the opportunity to study at the Integrity School set up by the prison authorities, said what happened not only dismayed his 41-year-old mother but also his teachers.
‘’My friends said I would experience difficulties if I start studying (in an institute of higher learning) and cannot get any ketum water, so I worked at a sawmill to earn money,’’ said the second of four siblings.
Ahmad said he is thankful that his mother continues to see him in prison.
“I asked for her forgiveness recently,’’ he said, adding that he was grateful since many inmates never had visitors, including family members.
He vowed that he would stay clear of trouble when he leaves prison.
He said his mother and 42-year-old father separated when he was 12, and that his father and elder sister, 21, are also in prison in Kelantan for drug abuse.
Ahmad scored 7As, 1B, 1C and 1D in his SPM examination. According to Nor Fakhrini Abdul Razab, 33, a counsellor at the Marang Prison, the prison authorities will try and find a place for him in a polytechnic or a suitable institution of study.
‘’He is a smart lad and always asks questions and takes instructions. He is also very courteous.
“I meet many students here but I know Ahmad will have a good future if he is willing to change,” said Nor Fakhrini, who has been stationed at the prison since 2014.