Public caning approved by the Kelantan state assembly for syariah offences should not be condemned because it is not a new thing in this country as it had once been implemented in Sabah, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom.
He said in fact, the public should understand that the punishment would only be imposed on Muslims who committed syariah offences.
“Do not make it an issue... public caning under syariah laws has already been carried out outside the prison like in Tawau (Sabah). Many people do not understand that the sentence is based on syariah law and affects only Muslims,” he told reporters after opening the Jerai division Umno Youth conference in Guar Chempedak near Yan today.
On Wednesday, the Kelantan state assembly passed the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 (Amendment 2017) Bill which among others, allows public caning.
The bill also allows religious enforcement officers to handcuff suspects and video tapes can be used as evidence in court.
Jamil, who is also Jerai division Umno head, said caning done within prisons are also considered public because the term in Islam refers to more than two people.
“In prison, there are already more than two people, including the doctor who has come to observe, the religious officer (enforcer), the accompanying officers as well as others, and this is definitely more than two people,” he said.