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 Says.com (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…
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“.
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.
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!”
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:
“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.
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!”
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.
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”.
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!”
There are two schools of thought about this – is pedophilia choice or biological?
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.”
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!”
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!).
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 ways. No 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.
“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’?
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.