Reformed convict gives back to society

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MALAYSIANS KINI | It would not be a stretch to say that A Muraly's life story plays out like a Bollywood movie.

An angry young man ends up on the wrong side of the law, lands behind bars for six years, then sees the light at the end of the tunnel and, upon his release from prison, gives back to the society he "once took so much from".

The 47-year-old businessperson now runs a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called "Tamilan Uthavum Karangal" (Tamilan Helping Hands), which extends help to the poor, the underprivileged, as well as disabled people. The NGO has 700 members nationwide, including some ex-convicts, who like Muraly, have turned over a new leaf.

If there is one thing that Muraly is worried sick about now, it is the direction that Indian youths are heading in - a life of violence and crime, something he is familiar with. There needs to be a concerted effort made by the relevant authorities and society to put a stop to this problem, he says, "before it is too late".

Muraly dropped out of school when he was in Form Five, and his first run-in with the law occurred when he was just 19, in 1990.

In his own words, Muraly recalls his life before, inside, and after prison.

IT WAS A MOMENT OF ANGER that triggered that incident which would ultimately cause me to spend six years in jail under the Emergency Ordinance (EO). I was helping my father at the family's meat stall in the Selayang market when I stabbed a trader due to a misunderstanding. What happened was my cousin brother came running to me saying that the said trader, had "punched me", and I, without thinking, grabbed a knife, walked straight to the trader and without bothering to find out what had happened, stabbed him in the stomach...

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