Maths genius deserves second chance, says don amid debate on presence at UKM

Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin joined UKM last year to pursue his Master’s degree and is now doing his PhD. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) professor has come to the defence of Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, amid a fierce debate online on whether the mathematics genius, who was jailed in the UK for possessing child pornography, deserves a second chance.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the academic with UKM’s school of mathematical science said he has not heard of any complaints or incidents involving Nur Fitri and other students.

The professor said that Nur Fitri, who joined UKM last year to pursue his Master’s degree and was quickly promoted to a PhD course, is also tutoring other undergraduates.

“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.”

Nur Fitri was sentenced to five years’ jail in 2015 after he pleaded guilty in a London court for keeping over 30,000 images and videos of child pornography.

British police had then said that the files he kept were the “most extreme material” they had come across.

He was extradited to Malaysia after serving a reduced jail sentence from 18 months to nine.

When Nur Fitri, a 27-year-old from Perak, enrolled at UKM last year, the professor told him that he was aware of his case.

“I tried not to be judgmental, so I didn’t ask if he was remorseful of his actions. I just told him that I knew about his history and we wanted him to have a second chance.

“I also told him that so long as there is no repeat of his actions while at UKM, then he would be treated like any other student,” the professor said, adding that no “special treatment” has been accorded to Nur Fitri.

Nur Fitri attends lectures together with other students, the professor said.

He expressed hope that the public would put an end to the debate over Nur Fitri’s case and whether he should be allowed to study or be around people.

Nur Fitri won a Mara scholarship to study at London’s Imperial College in 2012. He represented Malaysia at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2011. However, he lost his study loan following his conviction.

Then deputy inspector-general of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said Nur Fitri would be a “free man” in Malaysia after serving his sentence in the UK and would not be monitored upon return.