PETALING JAYA: Politicians and moderates are firm that the Kelantan state government’s proposal of using fields and stadiums as venues for public caning for offenders under the Syariah law cannot be allowed to happen.
Former Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Yunus said that under Prison Regulations 2000 caning must be done in prisons.
He said as there were no Syariah prison or Syariah prison officers, such proposal if implemented, has to rely on prison officers who were federal officers, governed by federal law namely prison regulations.
“And under regulation 132, caning must be done in prison and not in public.
“So I don’t think the proposal to implement caning in public can be carried out, as that would contravene regulation 132,” said Mohd Hishamudin.
G25 representative Datuk Noor Faridah Ariffin said that the proposal was disgraceful, adding that the Kelantan PAS government has yet to provide housing for its flood victims or look after the welfare of its people.
“Instead they are more concerned with the imposition of punishment and public humiliation on people who are deemed to have committed Syariah offences simply to prove their Islamic credentials.
“All they are doing is to tarnish the image of Islam among both Muslims and non-Muslims,” said Noor Faridah.
Businessman and moderation activist Anas Zubedy said he doesn’t see caning in public as required or necessary to carry out justice.
“It may have been standard practice hundreds of years ago or suitable for Arab culture, but I do not see it fitting for Malaysia and the 21st century,” said Anas.
Deputy Education Minister and MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon said the Kelantan state government should throw out any proposals of caning for offenders under the Syariah law to be conducted in public.
“Such public punishments will in turn descend into animalistic entertainment, appealing to the debased tendencies of the audience.
“The grotesque becomes intriguing and enticing,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Chong said fields and stadiums are to nurture sporting talents and should never be related into a communal square of torment and public retribution.
MIC deputy president Datuk Seri S.K. Devamany said any form of laws implemented in the name of religion must be rational.
He said the enforcement of any law which was forced onto people without rationality and good intent would be detrimental to the law itself.
Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa from Amanah said the state government should address other pertinent issues such as good livelihood and providing infrastructure to boost economic development.
“Public caning, even if it is implemented, doesn’t have to be in a stadium. I do not know if caning is allowed in public,” he said.
It was reported that Kelantan was studying implementing public caning for Syariah offenders and possible areas identified for it to be carried out include sports fields, stadiums and mosques.