Crime International

5 unconvincing reasons to save the MARA pedophile [UPDATED]

This article was originally published on May 9 2015, and updated on 25th August 2019

Content warning: We will be discussing elements of child pornography and sexual abuse. If you find these subjects distressing, click here to head back to our main page.

UPDATED August 25th 2019: Nur Fitri is now a PhD student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

According to The Rakyat Post and (who took the story from The Rakyat Post), Nur Nordin was released and sent back to Malaysia “under a cloak of secrecy” in late 2015. It seemed that those with info remain tight-lipped and declined comment when asked about him, so it wasn’t known whether he was back in his hometown in Perak or anywhere else, if he’s under surveillance, or even if he’s undergoing treatment or therapy.

We should probably note as well that, at the time of updating this article back in 2015, we couldn’t find any other mention of his return in other news sources.

This was pretty much the status quo until a few days ago, when a tweet started making its rounds in the Twitterverse…

Screencapped from Twitter

On August 20th, a tweet warned Bangi-ans that Nur Nordin is currently a student at UKM. This was confirmed a couple days later when a professor at UKM’s school of mathematical science told mStar that Nur Nordin was a second year PhD student under his supervision. The professor (who wanted to remain anonymous) said that he was aware of Nur Nordin’s past, but would treat him as a normal student for as long as he didn’t go back to his past…um…inclinations.

As will be mentioned A LOT in the rest of this article (if you haven’t read it yet), the professor also brought up Nur Nordin’s adeptness at academics:

“He is a brilliant student. He completed his Master’s in a year and because of his good grades, the university senate approved his transfer to a PhD course. I’d say he is in the top 5% of maths geniuses.” – Quoted from Malay Mail

But on a different point, some of you may remember that the Malaysian government launched a child sex offenders registry in April this year which, at launch, contained the names of 3,000 child sex offenders from 2017 to February 2019. So…. if that’s the case, why did it take so long to find out where Nur Nordin was?

Well, it’s because he isn’t on the list.

According to Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh, this is because the registry only contains the names of offenders who were convicted under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 which….started in 2017. Essentially, this means that any child sex offenders that were convicted before 2017 would not be on the registry – including Nur Nordin.

However, Hanah Yeoh added they were “currently reviewing the existing laws related to this“.


nordin-4-e1430979173224-296x300 copy

We’ll explain why we used this particular image of Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin later in the article. Image from Malaysia Chronicle

By now, most of you would have heard of Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, the Malaysian student who was caught with 30,000 images and videos containing child pornography as well as a life sized mannequin of a young boy while under a MARA scholarship to study Mathematics in London. Nur, described as a math genius studying at one of the top colleges in the world (Imperial College London), was sentenced to jail for five years for the following:

  • 1 count of possessing indecent videos
  • 2 counts of MAKING indecent images of a child and 1 count of possession of indecent images and videos of children
  • 4 counts of possession with intent to distribute indecent images of children
  • 5 counts of MAKING indecent photographs of a child

The officer investigating his case stated that a significant number of the images, in addition to 477 videos, were “Category A” – depicting penetrative sexual activity with children; adding:

“Nordin was involved in the making and sharing of some of the most extreme images that have ever been seen by officers that work in this field.” – Detective Constable Sara Keane, as quoted in GetWestLondon.

Sorry. Yes, we realise this is pretty darn serious stuff, which is why this article might be a weeee bit serious-er than we’re used to.

Things really went viral when Minister of Rural and Regional Development Mohd. Shafie Apdal mentioned that his ministry was considering an appeal to the London court for a lighter sentence. And then MARA announced they were going to give Nur Nordin a “second chance” by allowing him to resume his studies at any MARA institute after he’s served his 5-year jail sentence in the UK.

Nazir Hussin, the MARA council member who made the statement has since said that he was “misquoted” and his personal opinion was taken to reflect MARA’s. However, he also mentioned that:

In unofficial discussions, council members and the Mara chairman have agreed to give him a second chance after he serves his sentence.” – MARA council member Nazir Hussin, as quoted in The Malaysian Insider.

In another “personal opinion” statement, MARA chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa said that Nur Nordin needed rehabilitation and was being aided by MARA London on humanitarian grounds. We’re thinking all statements coming out of MARA now should start with #IMHO.


Tan Sri Annuar Musa. Image from

As for social media, it seems a majority of online users we’ve seen fall into the #NoSecondChance camp, although there are those who also support giving him a fresh start in life. Because the Pro-Second chance camp offered more reasons, we’re going to use their arguments as the basis of this article.

Let’s start this list with the most common reason given by both Facebook users and MARA (unofficially)…


1. “He’s a genius and an asset to the country!”

551912_415046908556990_886566293_n copy

“Personal opinion” as quoted from The Star. Click image to link. Image from The Rakyat Post.

Asset brain

Nur Nordin is probably a pretty smart guy, but so are many Malaysians that our authorities don’t seem so concerned about. In fact, a few users detectives on Twitter found that Nur Nordin participated in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2011 and looked up the scores for the Malaysian participants that year:

Nur Nordin

Screencapped from Twitter. Click for larger image.

“The participants are ranked based on their individual scores. Medals are awarded to the highest ranked participants, such that slightly less than half of them receive a medal.” – From the International Math Olympiad on Wikipedia

The site also lists down their individual performance compared to the participants for that year, which you can take a look at here. And yes, we realize there’s a racial elephant in the room but we didn’t check if the rest of the participants got scholarships as it isn’t relevant to this article.

racist elephant in room

What we instead will address is how there are some people willing to downplay the child porn issue “because he got an asset brain that might control the world,” with statements such as…


2. “He didn’t do anything to the kids. It’s just porn!”

Bukan merogol pun

Let’s first answer the base question first: Does watching child porn make you a pedophile?

Well, no. A pedophile is someone who has an inherent attraction to children, but may not act on it, so not all pedophiles abuse children or watch child pornography. Research has shown that those who view child pornography can be split into two general groups; TakSengaja Viewers (Incidental) and Sengaja Viewers (Purposive).

  • TakSengaja Viewers are those who come across the material “by chance” on image searches or forums and head on a downward spiral from there. They might either harbor repressed pedophilliac fantasies or be porn addicts in search of progressively exotic or extreme porn.
  • Sengaja Viewers on the other hand actively seek out child pornography using file sharing networks or the Deep Web. This group is also more likely to be active child sexual abusers as well.

We will be discussing more on what a pedophile is in the next point.

If watching child porn

We also have to keep in mind that while those who watch child pornography don’t necessarily become abusers of children, it’s still creating a demand for more underaged pornographic materials and encouraging more abuse (the same can also be said of regular porn, but that’s a torrent for another day).

This abuse also spills over to the mainstream, especially on social media sites where young children are groomed to exhibit sexualized imagery for online predators. These mostly involve “child modelling” sites where subscribers can send in outfits or on YouTube where predators use fake accounts to “dare” young teenagers to perform fetish acts such as “Feet Dares”.

Screenshot 2015-05-08 12.03.47

Click to watch YouTube PSA.

In Nur Nordin’s case, he was found with 30,000 files and a child mannequin and was charged with MAKING indecent images and photographs of children. Although we don’t know how he “made” the indecent images, it’s quite unlikely he accidentally downloaded 30,000 files, and ordered a doll to go with them. Does that make him a pedophile? Almost certainly. Is what he did illegal? Definitely.

But can he be blamed for it?


3. “It’s not his fault that he’s like that!”

Video saja

There are two schools of thought about this – is pedophilia choice or biological?

Gay dan lesbian

In the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Practitioners), the “bible” used as a reference by mental health practitioners, homosexuality was considered a mental illness up till 1973 when it was removed, due to changing mindsets and research which showed no mental differences between gay and straight people. And so perhaps like homosexuality, further research on pedophilia may change how we view and manage it.

As it is, the DSM has already made a distinction between “pedophilia” and “pedophilic disorder,” where those with pedophilic disorder “feel personal distress about their sexual interest and the harm it may bring to the recipients.”

Sick or normal?

Although still ongoing, there has been research which shows that pedophiles may have become the way they are due to faulty brain wiring. MRI studies have shown that when seeing children, the pleasure centers of a pedophile’s brain lights up the same way a “normal straight man’s” brain does when seeing a beautiful woman. And WHOAH – there have also been cases where people who experienced brain tumors or damage suddenly exhibiting attraction to children. You can read up more on this here and here. 

Also, there’s a fairly recent movement of self-confessed pedophiles –  who feel guilt and acknowledge the potential harm to children and have made personal decisions to withhold from acting on their urges, which include watching child pornography. Here’s an interview with a 19-year old self confessed pedophile who has never been near a child, and here’s a link to Virtuous Pedophiles, a support/awareness group for those wanting to control their urges. Both links are fairly safe for work (not risque), but you still might wanna open them at home. 

So perhaps it really isn’t Nur Nordin’s fault that he’s attracted to sexualized images of children, but yes it is still ILLEGAL. But can he be rehabilitated?


4. “Religion/therapy/castration will get him back on the right track!”

Kejutan budaya

In order to treat something, we first have to know the cause. Unfortunately, no one knows what causes pedophilia.

“The [brain scan research] can tell us who is a pedophile – but, unfortunately, not why.” – Jorge Ponseti, Psychologist, as quoted in Deutsche Welle.

Recent focus has been to reach out to pedophiles for guidance and counseling before they may be tempted to act, but this has proven to be an uphill task because very few pedophiles are willing to “come out of the closet” for fear of discrimination.

Especially when one of the official treatments in the UK is castration (in this case, voluntary!).

Castrate him2

There is both physical castration (chopping off your weewee), and chemical castration, which reduces your hormone levels, but those under chemical castration can resume normal sexual function when they stop taking the drugs while those who have their sexual organs removed may take their frustrations out on the victims in much more harmful waysNo easy solutions here, guys.

From this writer’s previous work experience in drug rehabilitation (email for reference, I guess?), all patients are able to pass compulsory therapy sessions once they’ve figured out how the system works – what is called “gaming” the system. Unfortunately, only the offender will ever know if they are truly rehabilitated. 

But to help with his rehabilitation, we can’t just say…“EWWW. you’re a paedophile, get away from me.” So does that mean…


5. “Everyone deserves a second chance!” (?)

First off, let’s address another one of those elephants in the room.

image from

OMG another elephant!? image from

Elephant #2: Why don’t authorities extend the same Second Chance mentality to Alvin Tan, or Adam Adli? Well here’s what Adam had to say about MARA.

“Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim, pointed out that public universities often suspend or expel its students for allegedly being pro-opposition.” – Malaymailonline, May 7, 2015

Well, we’re guessing it’s part politics, and also partly that neither of these two seem like they want to be ‘rehabilitated’?

Semua orang buat salah

In this case, it’s easy to make the sweeping statement of “Yes, EVERYONE deserves a second chance!”, but with everything surrounding a topic like this… it’s not so easy. Voluntary chemical castration is pretty solid, as it indicates a willingness from the participant to want to rehabilitate. However monitoring is still needed in case they decide to stop taking the drugs.

And there are those who fall straight back into their old habits once they’re released like this man who went back to the library he was caught viewing child pornography in to be near some schoolchildren, or those who learn from their mistakes; such as this man who started using a computer which allowed him to delete usage history after he was caught downloading 1,300 indecent pictures of children.

Pedophilia vs Homosexuality in Malaysia

One of our other writers (okok, it was Hans) originally suggested that this article be about Malaysia’s views of these two crimes in Malaysia. In a nutshell…

Anwar gets jailed for sodomy, but Malaysia tries to rescue a pedophile?!

Truth is, legally, that might be correct – cos we do have laws for Sodomy, but this article in the Malaysian Insider actually points that Shariah Law might be supportive of Pedophilia.

The main difference between the two? At least homosexuality is consensual between adults. At least by that point alone, convicted pedophiles should be punished and heavily monitored.

So when IGP Khalid saying that a sex offenders registry was “unnecessary” and his deputy saying that Nur Nordin will be a free man when he returns because his crime was committed in the UK, and a MARA official likening Nur Nordin’s crime to truancy, it seems that the subject of child sexual exploitation as a whole is taken WAY too lightly.

So the real question is…?

When I used the picture of Nur Nordin holding a young boy in the beginning of the article, editorial asked me to use a different picture as some readers might find it offensive, but I said no, because I wanted to prove a point. And the point here is this: If you were offended by the picture, is it because you’re seeing it in the context of knowing what he’s done? And if you did, is your judgement of Nur Nordin based on logical conclusions or subjective emotion? And if not, I have made a bad assumption and I apologize.

What he has done is wrong, both legally, morally, socially, and any other -lys you can think of. Yes, he might not have a choice, and he might be born that way. But Nur Nordin and pedophiles isn’t what we should be focusing on. Cos here’s the real shocker…

“We do not have an offence of watching child pornography, so he can’t be charged for that here in Malaysia.” – Honey Tan, lawyer. The Star, May 8 2015

They can be charged under distribution of ‘obscene images’, but do you think we need more than that?

We reckon that before we judge whether or not he can be helped or saved, we should worry about what could happen to Malaysian children. What we SHOULD be focusing on first is to amend our laws and mindsets to protect our children from sexual exploitation. A quote that we came across in our research puts it all into perspective:

“[A] child’s right to protection is far more morally important than the freedoms of pedophiles.” – Dr. Ludwig Lowenstein, Psychologist, as quoted in The Guardian.

Once we got that sorted, then okla… maybe can consider giving this guy a MARA calculator.


Here's how MARA allegedly laundered RM73 million using Australia and a cake shop


  1. Vijay

    08/12/2015 at 12:58 pm

    Great article on a tough subject.

    To paraphrase a certain umno minister, I guess pedophilia is no big deal in some cultures.

  2. Pingback: How EXACTLY did Malaysian kids’ pictures get on a porn site!? | CILISOS - Current Issues Tambah Pedas!

  3. Rewarp

    09/05/2015 at 6:19 am

    This is probably the most meaningful discussion of the paedophilia case that I have read so far. I stop short of legislating against pornography of any sort online, because it tends to be a slippery cliff towards banning other things (refer to Australia banning porn videos with women who have flat chests for example) – rather, simply arrest the people exploiting children and the people paying the child abusers.

    The point here is still consent, and children, unlike adult sex workers, cannot give consent. Thus why child pornography is viewed more dimly than other pornographic viewings.

    That said, these people probably know their actions are wrong, as this article so smartly describes. Hence, we must find a way to help them be less harmful to society in a humane fashion. The issue is a lot more complicated than described for treatment of paedophiles, but we must all at least agree the government and government departments should not be in the business of enabling potential sex crimes to be committed against children by showing an almost breath-taking lack of concern for paedophilia.

    • Uihua Cheah

      10/05/2015 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks @rewarp:disqus!

      Yeah, another interesting perspective I came across was about Japanese society and lolicon, and how they get around it by stating legal ages despite the characters being obviously underaged. Didn’t add it in because it would have gone off-topic but it’s quite interesting nonetheless.

    • Rewarp

      10/05/2015 at 11:09 pm

      Actually, I have absolutely no problems with people getting off to drawings. Sexuality is one of those things that just arises naturally, despite societies most prudish elements to repress it. The key is to find a way to channel those desires in a non-harmful fashion.

      What Nur Fitri did was unacceptable because he endangered and contributed to the abuse of real children by watching videos of actual flesh-and-blood children being abused. Drawings of children on the other hand do not exploit real children as far as I am aware.

      This study shows a decrease in sex crime with availability of pornography in Japan commensurate with results from other countries.

      In fact, Nur Fitri owned a mannequin which (in my non-expert take it with a grain of salt) points towards a conscious effort to offload his sexual frustration onto an object that would not have been harmed.

      I have always wondered whether simply supplying paedophiles with manga containing drawing sexual depictions of children would be an effective measure, much like how we view the use of sex toys today as a means to enjoy sex without the risk of pregnancy.

      P.S. Neil Gaiman wrote probably the defining popular piece for the defence of lolicon material you may find interesting, if you haven’t read it yet.

    • Uihua Cheah

      11/05/2015 at 2:46 pm

      Arg. I have not. It looks like interesting reading though.

      In return, here’s a link to an article about how Manga was influenced by outside events. There was a book written on this some time back but I seem to have lost it :/

      Thought you might find it interesting.

    • Chak Onn Lau

      12/05/2015 at 11:42 pm

      That’s a really interesting opinion, particularly with the manga option (which doesn’t require live models). But again, the stakes are alot higher than normal pornography. To be honest, despite my usually open mind, i feel uncomfortable talking about it.

      That said…Ever thought of writing for us?

    • Rewarp

      13/05/2015 at 1:03 am

      What an intriguing offer. Though I imagine I should contact you via email for something of this nature?

    • Lydia

      13/05/2015 at 4:40 pm

      Definitely! Drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.

    • Rewarp

      13/05/2015 at 10:37 pm

      I have sent you an email, with a fingerprint ending in 4A41.

    • Chak Onn Lau

      21/05/2015 at 9:57 pm

      sure! chak at cilisos dot my!

    • Rewarp

      22/05/2015 at 9:35 am

      I have sent one to Lydia below.

  4. Yang Jerng Hwa

    09/05/2015 at 2:58 am

    Would it be too controversial to discuss the definition of “exploitation,” and thereupon to challenge the morals of our activists, whether their motivations were religious or humanistic in nature? Moral debates on the Internet always remind me of trying to argue that children of any age should be given the freedom to choose their partners (or any age), on Twitter, and pretty much getting bored of the incapability of various parties to follow sequences of Tweets, let alone multiple conversations multiplexed within a single stream of Tweets. #somewhatBeyondMalaysia #probablyWhyIPreferTalkingToMachines

    • Uihua Cheah

      10/05/2015 at 6:02 pm

      *Personal opinion warning*

      Moral debates are never fun because any arguments you make become reflective judgements of your character, so after awhile it becomes more of a personal offense-defence argument rather than one based on points. I could mention how legal age of consent in western countries were as low as 12 or 14 just before the turn of the last century, but it gets buried in modern sentiments almost as soon as it comes out of my mouth. #alreadyargued #icantmakeconclusivedecisions #infp

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