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‘Public caning only for Muslims’

KUCHING: The amendments to the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enact­ment 2002 passed by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly should be seen in the context that they are applicable only to Muslims in the state.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the amended enactment did not involve non-Muslims there.

“I have not received details on the tabling of the Bill and of the amendments but I feel what they've done should be seen in the context of this law being only for Muslims in Kelantan,” he told reporters at the VIP arrival hall of Kuching International Airport here yesterday.

He was asked to comment on the amended enactment, which, among others, provides for caning in public for offences such as illicit sex, sodomy and consuming alcohol.

Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah had said that the amendments were in accordance with Islamic law, which allowed for the punishment as a deterrent.

He also said that previously, such caning was done in prison but with the amendments, whipping could be carried out in public as well, but this depends on the court’s decision.

The amendments also allow religious enforcement officers to handcuff suspects, and the use of video recordings as evidence in syariah court hearings.

The Kelantan government had stressed that the ruling was not applicable to non-Muslims.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Kelan­tan government had the right to table the enactment amendment Bill at the state assembly sitting as it had the majority voice.

“However, although the amendments have been passed, they still require the consent of the Kelantan Sultan for implementation,” he added.

The Bill was tabled by state Islamic Development and Propaga­tion, Information and Liaison Com­mittee chairman Datuk Mohd Nassuruddin Daud.

Earlier, Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, had attended an Aidilfitri gathering hosted by the ministry in Sri Aman. — Bernama

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zahid , public caning , kelantan